By Samantha England
One of the most common phrases you will hear from someone involved with IU Dance Marathon is that, at a school of almost 40,000 students, IUDM makes the world seem small. Sometimes, this campus does feel overwhelmingly big. But, if you stop and look around every once in a while, you might see a lot more familiar people, places, and things than you’d expect.
Let’s go on an adventure through Bloomington…
IU's largest (and the Nation’s second-largest) student-run philanthropy organization is housed on the fifth floor of the Indiana Memorial Union Student Tower. The IUDM office is where much of our behind-the-scenes action occurs. Crunching numbers and collecting red buckets, midday meetings, and SFC live streams it all goes down in the office. While it’s hidden to many, the moment you step off that elevator and onto the fifth floor, a smiling face is sure to be greeting you, right behind door #573.
After leaving the IMU, you’ll see hordes of students walking to and from class. You might notice someone in a blue IUDM 2022 shirt, two people, and ten. That’s because this past week we had an all-committee “Wear It Wednesday.” Hundreds of students dressed up as part of a united front, representing the exact cause. That’s the true power of this organization. When we all stand together, we feel a little less alone.
Even heading off-campus, IUDM is as prominent as ever. You might be grabbing lunch as part of a Dine-to-Donate event, thanks to generous support from Bloomington businesses. Maybe there’s a red Riley bucket set out for donations at a local coffee shop. Most nights, Kirkwood is lined with IUDM committee members raising funds through canning. At the end of the day, the heart of this organization is in B-Town, even outside of school hours.
IU isn’t even the only school that raises money towards that total we hold up at the end of each year. Our high school marathons in the surrounding area (and beyond) are made up of hardworking students and future leaders, eager to support the same cause we care so much about.
So IUDM is everywhere, that much is obvious, but for 36 hours out of the year, there’s only one place to be: The IU Tennis Center.
No words can accurately describe what it feels like to be in the tennis center during the marathon, but it’s something along the lines of magical. For 36 hours, this is where we dance, sing, laugh, and cry as we celebrate a full year of working to support Riley Hospital for Children.
And our return to the tennis center is coming up. Today marks 40 days until the marathon. That’s 40 jelly beans. 40 chances (at least) to make a difference in your own life, and the lives of others. Give it your all. Then, you will truly see the lasting impact of IU Dance Marathon everywhere you go, no matter where it is that life takes you.