For a printable version, click here: Riley Families FAQ

How do I get involved with IUDM if I am the parent of a Riley kid?

Contact Sarah Guistolisi, director of Riley Development, at

What happens during the marathon?

IUDM is an annual 36 hour long dance marathon, which starts at 8 PM on Friday and ends at 8 AM on Sunday. There are two 18 hour shifts of dancers as well as some elite 36 hour dancers. The dancers must stay on their feet for all 18 or 36 hours respectively. During this time, they learn a line dance taught by the Morale committee, eat, play games and watch clips and skits and bands. The committee members act as security, play many different roles specific to each committee (there are 17 committees total) and facilitate the marathon overall..

What does it mean to be an “IUDM Riley Family”?

IUDM Riley families are the families that IUDM sponsors. We pair each family with a member of the Riley Development committee, and these committee members spend all year getting acquainted with the Riley kids, their sibling/s, and parents. This is done through the variety of events that are put on by the Riley Development committee through IUDM each year, which are outlined in the Event Descriptions. This is also done during the 36 hour IU Dance Marathon in November. Many of these committee members and members of the Executive Council form lifelong relationships with the families.

What do Riley families do at IUDM?

Each Riley family gets an opportunity to share their story with and inspire the thousands of IU students that attend the marathon. These stories are spread out throughout the 36 hour marathon to keep the dancers and committee members motivated and inspired to believe in the cause. Outside of this, the kids can participate in the Riley kid talent show, in addition to different theme hours and around the clock activities (e.g. arts and crafts, bounce house, etc.) and attention from the Riley Development committee members in the designated Riley area at the IU Tennis center where IUDM is held.

What is the typical weekend schedule for IUDM families?

The marathon runs from 8 PM on the Friday of marathon weekend to 8 AM on Sunday. The families kick off the marathon by standing on stage and watching the dancers run in through a tunnel. They are welcome to stay as long as they want each day. Hotel accommodations are provided for Friday and Saturday night, and meals are provided all day on Saturday in addition to snacks that are provided throughout the marathon. Special activities include a trick-or-treat theme hour where kids can dress up in Halloween costumes and go trick-or-treating, the Riley kid talent show, and the Riley kid lightning round.

Is it okay if I am unable to come for the whole weekend?

Yes! We always have families that only come for one night or the other or only even during the day. You are not obligated to spend the night or come all three days, you can come and go as you please.

Can I schedule things with my child’s Riley Development “buddy” outside of the designated events?

Yes! Riley development committee members LOVE spending time with the kids and getting to know you and your family, they will jump on any opportunity to spend time with your child or support them in their endeavors (piano recitals, soccer games, etc.).

What if my child has special needs/dietary restrictions/allergies?

We try to accommodate to all needs! Even the playground at the Easter Egg Hunt is handicap accessible. The best way to ensure these needs are addressed is by informing the director of Riley Development of them.

How many students are involved with IUDM?

There are over 3000 students involved with IUDM, with different levels of commitment ranging from dancer to Executive Council member, all integral to reaching the final total.

If you have any further questions, comments or concerns, please contact Janaki Patel at