On Friday, March 11, Graceland students were preparing to be up even later than usual. Enactus members took afternoon naps and bought energy drinks and coffee. Other students laced up their comfiest tennis shoes and prepared for a night on their feet for the first Dance-a-Thon ever sponsored by Graceland Enactus.
This idea had been circulating for awhile. “At one of the first Enactus meetings last fall, someone brought up the idea and we decided to run with it,” says Enactus member Heather Smith who was a part of the planning committee for this event. The team decided that students could get sponsors to donate money for every hour students stayed at the dance, and that the money donated would go towards the GU Supply Closet. (To learn more about the Supply Closet, click here.) The event would begin at eight-o-clock at night and go until eight-o-clock in the morning!
The team came up with several creative ideas to keep the event from being too exhausting. “We figured we should play some games throughout the night because it wouldn’t be fun to dance for twelve hours straight. The games were meant to keep people’s energy up as the night went on,” Heather says. Games included a heated, competitive match of musical chairs, limbo, and ‘hungry, hungry hippos,” a real life version of the kid’s game involving hula hoops, balls, and scooters! There was also a partner dance contest during which contestants had to come up with a song and create a dance in a short amount of time.
Another creative addition was playing generational music every hour. For example, when the dance started at eight, music from the fifties was playing for an hour until nine when sixties music came on! However, after awhile, the DJs switched to taking requests.
Heather says, “We started planning shortly after we came back from break and worked on it up until the night of. It was our first ever Dance-a-Thon so we didn’t know if it was gonna work or not and we learned a lot from the whole thing.” And, like Heather said, not everything went as planned. Lesley Mark, another Enactus member who helped plan the event, says, “We need to advertise more next time. I feel like people didn’t know much about the event until it was too late to get sponsors.”
Furthermore, after the event began, the Enactus team realized that the timing was too much. “We had a group discussion around midnight and we decided that we didn’t think anyone would make it until eight in the morning! We decided to end the event at two,” Heather says. Graceland students had still been dancing for five hours went the event came to a close.
“If we do it again, some things would be different, but overall we’re proud of the first experience,” Heather says. Lesley was very enthusiastic: “It was better than choices!” Already thinking about potential future Dance-a-Thons, Lesley says, “We’ll let people vote on what next year’s Dance-a-Thon will be like. This year was awesome, and more people should sign up next year!”
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