The HCDM committee members hold up signs announcing the total fundraising amount.
On Jan. 25 and 26, approximately 250 students, staff and alumni at the College of the Holy Cross danced the night away in the Hogan Campus Center Ballroom and raised $40,133.56 for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation at the annual dance marathon hosted by Holy Cross Dance Marathon (HCDM). Participants danced from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., while the HCDM committee conducted various games, activities, and educational videos and talks. In addition to the marathon participants, an additional 300 students paid a $5 entrance fee to “Club DM” as the ballroom was transformed into dance club mid-marathon from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m., another way for students to contribute to the cause.
With the theme “Groovin’ for the Gold,” participants helped double the fundraising amount of last year’s event. According to HCDM co-chair Ashley Dhaim ‘15, the jump in fundraising came from phone calls made over winter break reminding members to meet their fundraising minimums—a new initiative this year—as well as a doubling of volunteers on the event’s steering committee, which in turn led to larger attendance.
“On this campus, people like to support their friends in what they do,” said Dhaim about the impact of increasing the steering committee. “It was easy to recruit more people who were committed to reaching the fundraising minimum because they wanted to stay for the whole night to support their friends.”
Despite the minor improvements made this year to boost recruitment and fundraising, Brian Regan, community development coordinator of Wheeler Hall and the advisor for HCDM, said that the organization’s main goal has not changed. “Every year, the money raised by HCDM is donated to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) and every year our goal is to grow our participation and fundraising total over the previous year. Because the event is still relatively new on campus, with this being our third year, I think our increase in fundraising this year can be attributed to the fact over the last two years we have grown a small group of committed students, and each year they bring in more and more of their friends,” said Regan.
Founded in 1988, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation seeks to prevent pediatric HIV infections and to eliminate pediatric AIDS through research, advocacy and prevention and treatment programs throughout the world.
“When HCDM started three years ago, over 1,000 children each day were born with pediatric AIDS.” added Regan. “Today that number is closer to 700, so there is definite progress being made and I think that draws people into the cause very quickly.”