Updated: Feb 3
We would like to honor Eric Anderson, IUDM Director of Fundraising and an inspiring alumni.
Why did I begin my journey?
We didn't have dance marathon at my high school, but I had a few friends from Carmel who raved about it. i saw a flyer for RHRC in McNutt and thought staying up all night for charity sounded like fun. When I got to the first meeting and realized I was literally the only guy, I was a little confused, but ran with it anyway. Little did I know that I'd end up having 36 of the most fun hours of my life and become completely obsessed with the best cause on the planet.
What was your greatest impact on IUDM?
One of the best parts about IUDM is that it's not any one individual person who necessarily has an impact - it's a truly collective effort, with everybody playing a part. As an individual you can absolutely have an impact, but the impact you can have by inspiring others, who inspire others, who inspire others….it's truly infinite. And the earlier in your IUDM journey you internalize that fact, the faster you can start massively amplifying your impact.
As a dancer, you're focused on your individual total. As a committee member, you focus on getting your committee to raise as much money as possible. As a director, you start thinking bigger picture, going to high school marathons, planning events, etc. And by the time you get to BOM, you're purely focused on giving every individual across the entire organization the resources necessary to be successful. The superstar committee member or dancer might be able to squeeze out another 5-10% if they exhaust their entire network of people, but there's a much bigger impact to be found by motivating and inspiring the people who don't quite get it yet. And while there's a time and a place to go full OMAM, you have to vary your approach to get through to people. Focusing on that fact in 2012 made all the difference.
What is your favorite IUDM memory?
In 2012, we had 6 people on Exec returning from 2011. And all of us were squarely focused on one thing: breaking $2mm. It was a number that we'd been chasing for 4+ years, and a number that we were going to hit or die trying. The moment I refreshed the Excel model after a late-night counting session and saw that magic "2," it was straight out of a dream. And we still had a week to go! I knew there wasn't a chance I'd be able to keep it a secret all week, so at our BOM meeting at Siam House the next day, I quite simply told everyone: "We're Good." Seeing the mood shift from "if we don't hit this number we failed" to "wait, we can actually destroy this number?" was incredible. All the pressure was off, and we were all SO energized and motivated to absolutely smash the mad dash towards the finish line. The rest of the week was just pure joy, with the icing on the cake being the absolute pandemonium that erupted after we threw up the total. I didn't even watch the total, I just watched everybody's faces. And I still get chills thinking about it.
"Anything in life that's worth doing is worth giving your all to."
And IUDM has this incredible ability to exponentially give you more out of it than you put into it. I don't use anything I learned in class - ever - but draw on my IUDM experiences multiple times a day. So, go all in, and don't be surprised when your life forever changes for the better. Opportunities to have a massive impact on the world with your best friends are extremely hard to find - make the most of it!