Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Purdue University Dance Marathon

While at Purdue University one thing that I have grown extremely passionate about is the Purdue University Dance Marathon (throughout this blog I will refer to it as PUDM for short). PUDM is the largest student organization at Purdue and the mission of this organization is to raise as much money possible for Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. Throughout the year they participate in various fundraising events such as date auctions, canning dates outside of WalMart, online donations, and many other things. All of these events lead up to the main event, a dance marathon where everyone who has participated in fundraising stands for 18 hours for those children at Riley who can't. I know it sounds crazy, not only do you have to stay awake for that long but you also have to stand the entire time you're there; let me be the first to tell you that I had no idea what I was getting into my freshman year when I did it. My freshman year I participated as a dancer, my sophomore and junior year I participated as a member of the Greek Relations Committee, and this year (my senior year) I participated as a member of the Riley Development Committee. As a freshman I pretty much just raised money for Riley online and went to the marathon. The event was still very young at Purdue and we managed to raise around $300,000 as an organization. While still pretty good, I knew this organization was going to grow and do much better before my time at Purdue was done. As I said above my sophomore and junior year I was on the Greek Relations committee. The job of this committee was to get the Greek system involved as much as possible. After participating for 3 years, my senior year I  got the opportunity to be a part of the Riley Development committee. Throughout the marathon we actually bring in Riley families to hang out at the marathon, meet some of the dancers, and share their stories from Riley Hospital as a reminder to everyone standing for 18 hours why we're doing it. The job of the Riley D committee is to "buddy up" with a Riley family. Everyone on the committee gets paired with a family and throughout the year at various events you get to know the family (particularly the kid who has been in Riley), exchange emails and phone numbers, and become friends with this family so they are comfortable with you at the marathon. For me this was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. Getting to hang out with a 13 year old kid who's had more surgeries and hospital stays than everyone in my family combined makes you realize how lucky you are. This year we were able to raise over $1 million for Riley Hospital, this is the second year in a row we've been able to do that. While I still believe there is a lot of room to grow this organization has managed to grow by $700,000 in just two years. In closing, if you're looking to get involved right away at Purdue when you get here, while there are all kinds of opportunities in the school of Agriculture as well as the Agronomy Department (which i highly encourage you to take advantage of as well), PUDM is a great way to raise money for a great cause as well as get to know students from all over the University.  Below are some pictures from my marathon last year.

My Riley D Commitee

We couldn't sit for 18 hours, but that doesn't mean we didn't try to rest our legs

Relief after standing for 18 hours 

Until next time!

John Hettinga

1 comment:

  1. Raising money for Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis-it is a praise-worthy works. Thank all of you. This type of work encourages others to do the same.