Dance Marathon at UF is probably one of the most well-known events on campus. And "Transform Today" is also probably their most well known fundraising effort. I got the chance to interview two Dance Marathon people on-air today, and here's how it went.
Listen to the interview here.
Or, read the interview below:
Julia: Good morning! I am here today with some very special guests. We have people from Dance Marathon, Morgan Hill the marketing manager and Megan Freedman the public relations overall. So they're going to talk today about what Transform Today is, what Dance Marathon is; the whole thing. So, what is Dance Marathon for people who don't know?
Megan: Dance Marathon at UF is a student-run philanthropy, and we try to raise funds and awareness for the pediatric patients at UF Health Shands Children's Hospital. It's Gainesville's local Miracle Network Hospital. So, DM at UF has year-long efforts eventually culminating in our main 26.2 hour event in March where over 800 students stand as dancers and remain awake and on their feet for that whole 26.2 hours to symbolize fighting for the hardships that these families face every day.
Julia: Nice! And then, what is Transform Today specifically?
Morgan: So each fall we have a big fundraising push called Transform Today, and it's also 26.2 hours like our main event. So it started at 8 a.m. this morning and it goes till 10:12 a.m. tomorrow. And every member of our movement, from captains and leaders to dancers and ambassadors spread all across the UF campus and community to spread our cause. Hopefully we'll raise $650,000.
Julia: Is that your goal because it was that last year, is that your goal every year?
Morgan: Last year our goal was $600,000, and we raised $626,000, so this year our goal is $650,000.
Julia: And then what are the different activities happening where people can donate?
Morgan: So to donate, you can either donate on floridadm.com/donate, or if you know a specific person you'd like to donate to, then you can search their name and find their individual fundraising page. Or, you can just donate in general. There are also students in polos canning all across campus at Plaza of the Americas, Broward Dining, Reitz Breezway, Gator Dining, and that's it actually. And then you can also visit our hospitality nights at Hurricane BTW, Bento, and Chick-fil-A by The Standard.
Julia: Nice, nice. And at hospitality nights what do you have to do?
Megan: You just say that you're for DM at UF, and a portion of the proceeds from your meal will go to our Transform Today fundraising total. So it's super easy.
Julia: And then it lasts for 26.2 hours, you said? So, that's all happening today, and then tomorrow you guys are canning again. How does it all culminate?
Megan: It goes until 10:12 a.m. tomorrow, so we'll have breakfast at Plaza of the Americas at 9:30 a.m. and we'll count down to the end of Transform Today from about 10 to 10:12 a.m. Tomorrow night, actually, at 5 p.m., we have our Halloween event. It's where a bunch of our miracle families will come to celebrate Halloween with us, and there are so many fun activities, from food, to haunted houses, and more fun stuff. And at 6:30 p.m. will be our Transform Today fundraising total reveal.
Morgan: Moralloween is at Flavet Field, by the way.
Julia: Cool! When did you guys first get involved with Dance Marathon? What drove you to it and everything?
Morgan: I actually got involved with Dance Marathon when I was in high school. Some students from UF came down and presented at my high school and my best friend and I actually started a mini marathon, which is the version of the Dance Marathon at a high school. I did that my junior and senior year at my high school, and when I came to UF I was an emerging leader, then a captain, and an assistant director for the public relations team. Now here I am in my senior year.
Julia: Aw, nice.
Megan: I actually didn't know about Dance Marathon until I came to college. I danced my freshman year, which was such an amazing experience. From then on, I knew I wanted to get more involved throughout the years so I applied to be a public relations captain my sophomore year, and then I was assistant director for PR last year. This year I'm the overall director for public relations. It's been an amazing four years, and I'm so excited for today.
Julia: I love that. And then, just one more quick question. What's the most impactful experience you guys have had with DM?
Megan: I think it's just every moment we get to spend with our miracle families. They're just the most inspiring, resilient people I've ever met. They're all so unique and have such incredible stories to share. And yet through their hardships they're so positive and have so much hope and joy. It just really makes you take a look at your life and just want to give back more.
Julia: I really love that. So, to recap, Dance Marathon's Transform Today is happening, and anytime you see someone in a polo with a can you can donate. Or, you can go to Bento...
Morgan: Chick-fil-A, or Hurricane BTW by The Standard.
Julia: Yup! And when is the actual Dance Marathon happening again?
Morgan: March 28th and 29th 2020.
Julia: Cool. And if you guys wanna follow them on social media, go ahead plug it.
Julia: Cool! Thank you guys so much for being here!
Morgan & Megan: Yeah, thank you!