Indiana University Dance Marathon (IUDM) is arguably one of the most important events in Bloomington during the school year. For a school constantly riddled with a reputation of outrageous parties and recklessness, it is enormously important to continue to recognize student’s devotion to this organization. Frequently, headlines of bad behavior and danger outlive all the good that happens here on campus. IUDM serves as an excellent opportunity to change this fact. 

For example, prior to IUDM 2013, the Indiana Daily Student (IDS) published a story following one member of the Greek community through a day of relentless partying and embarrassing conduct. Consequently, Greek life, women, and IU as a whole, were illustrated in a poor light. However, what the IDS failed to capture over that same time period, where countless number of Greek community members selflessly pushing themselves to fundraise and make a positive difference for children at Riley Hospital for Children, whom most students had never even met.

It is moments like this that IU and the media often overlook.

Aside from the rewarding experience of fundraising, IUDM builds community among campus that is unrivaled. Often times, it bridges the gaps amongst various groups on campus. Those seeking to meet people outside of their current friend group can be assured that a special bond will be made during their time with IUDM. There is no other way to explain the phenomenon that many refer to as the “IUDM Family.”

Furthermore, IUDM continuously provides students with an opportunity to gain leadership experience that they may not receive otherwise. Those who choose to actively participate quickly learn that IUDM has perfected the balance of real-world experience while not being too demanding. The amount of time and effort put into the IUDM experience is totally up to the participant. While many would agree that the more, the better, one can just as easily have a good time and develop skills tailored to their interests by only taking on what their workload allows.

The skills gained from IUDM can range from interpersonal to intrapersonal. IUDM participants not only develop their ability to communicate with others, but also learn a lot about themselves, and what they are capable of. For instance, while at the marathon, hour 26 may seem especially long and trying, but when a Riley Family tells their story of heartbreak and perseverance in front of everyone, most dancers report finding an inner strength to help them continue on.

And as for fundraising, many participants have never actually done it on as grand of a scale before. It pushes students outside of their boundaries; pushes students to reach out in order to build something that is bigger than they are.

IUDM is a great educator. It teaches students that it is not the drunken weekends or football tailgates that are significant in life but the time spent giving back to others. Students learn what perseverance truly is, both through fundraising and standing for those who can’t during the 36-hour marathon. IUDM teaches students what is truly important.
Written by Kelsey Frank