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DM gives students something to dance about

It’s the largest, student-run philanthropy event to take place on college campuses around the country, and with the slogan “DM 2010 – better than it’s ever been,” USF’s dance marathon looked to live up to it’s reputation.

USF students raised $30,012 at Dance Marathon (DM) on Saturday, according to it’s Web site, to donate to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. The money will help families pay for children’s procedures.

Gloria Wong, a sophomore double majoring in international business and Chinese, was one of three morale captains who choreographed dances and kept up students’ spirits during the 17-hour event.

Wong, who participated in the event last year, said this year’s dance drew a significantly larger turnout.

About 350 students of the 450 who registered participated in the event – compared to last year’s 250 participants, Wong said.

Students danced, participated in raffles and played games from noon to 5 a.m. in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom. They also met some of the children and families for whom they were raising money.

“The only idea is that they can’t sit down,” Wong said. “I would say about 75 percent of it is dancing.”

Registration for the event was $15 per person, according to the event’s Facebook page.

DM functions as a student organization, Wong said, and is hosted with the help of several graduate student advisers and volunteers from the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement.

Christie Emigh, a member of the recruitment committee, morale captain and a sophomore majoring in biology, said that planning for the event is year-round.

Different fund raising events, like a fashion show and “letter-writing parties,” collect money and corporate sponsors throughout the year, she said.

“The dancing serves to help us realize how much pain and suffering these children go through,” Wong said. “This is nothing compared to what they deal with every day.”

The event lasted 17 hours, which represents the 17 million children treated by Children’s Miracle Network, a non profit organization that raises funds for hospitals each year, she said.

“For us, it’s just a sacrifice of one day – 17 hours,” Wong said. “It’s hard to stay on your feet for that long, but these children are dealing with much more difficult issues than we are.”