Hundreds raise money for charity at Pitt Dance Marathon
The ballroom was bumping until midnight at the William Pitt Student Union, where more than 1,000 students were expected for the revamped Pitt Dance Marathon.
The University of Pittsburgh student fundraiser underwent a number of changes for 2016, including a move to the student union from the Cost Sports Center, a shortening to 16 hours from the previous years' 24-hour marathon and a change in organizational structure that brought it under the aegis of the Student Activities office instead of Greek Week.
“We made a lot, a lot of changes this year, and we've seen a very positive outcome so far,” said Kayla Himes, a senior and co-president of the event who noted a record number of dancers had registered. “We've been making a lot of efforts to make sure the entire campus was involved.”
Though perhaps overshadowed by Penn State's annual multimillion-dollar THON fundraiser, the Pitt Dance Marathon is one of a growing number of dance marathon fundraisers at local schools. In recent years, high schools including Thomas Jefferson, North Hills and South Fayette have started their own.
The relocation from the sports center to the Pitt Union allowed more variety of events and music, because Cost was one large space. The dancing at the union was broken up among the ballroom, the assembly room and activities downstairs, event Vice President Emily Tumpa said.
“This way, if one area starts playing electronic dance music or something you don't like, you can go over here, and you're not stuck for a couple of hours listening to EDM,” said Will Bongiorni, a past co-president of the event. “The program had struggled in the past, but this year it's really taking off. Five years from now it's really going to be succeeding.”
Tumpa said dancers had to raise at least $150 through appeals to family and friends or collecting with cans at sporting events. She anticipates the total raised for the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation will surpass last year's record of $153,000.
“It's fun for the kids,” dancer Desiré Fowlkes said as children danced and lip-synced on stage to boy-band music in the Assembly Room. “They're here so you can have a face to see what you're working for.”
Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.