Pitt students dance through night for charity

Aaron Stier-Cohen | February 26, 2012    

With only 45 minutes remaining before returns to showers and warm beds, Pitt students’ dance… With only 45 minutes remaining before returns to showers and warm beds, Pitt students’ dance moves were reduced to head bobbing and two-steps. After 23 hours of dancing, the once-energetic participants of the 2012 Pitt Dance Marathon were doing their best to rally on the blue dance floor strewn with beads, glow sticks and confetti.

At 2:15 p.m. on Sunday, sophomore Joe Jensen had been awake and dancing for a little more than 23 hours without a sip of coffee or Red Bull, and he was having trouble standing.

“The girls are crazy,” said Jensen, an engineering major, nodding toward two students in blue shirts fist pumping and head bobbing their way across the dance floor. “I don’t know how they’re still going.”

At 3 p.m. Saturday, 203 total dancers (24-hour participants) and moralers (12-hour participants) wearing either pink, blue, green or purple PDM T-shirts danced at the Fitzgerald Fieldhouse to help fund Cystic Fibrosis research. For 24 hours, the participants danced as DJs took shifts spinning, lights flashed on stage, and a slide show of Cystic Fibrosis facts and pictures of people dancing played on a projector screen high above them.

This year, the event helped raise $27,500 for Greek Week’s three year, $300,000 pledge to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Greek Life and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation teamed up to put together the 24-hour dance party to help fund the search for a cure for a disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of 30,000 adults and children in the United States.

After T-shirt sales and donations from Kaplan Test Prep are calculated in, organizers predict they will have raised close to $33,000.

Organizers encouraged participants to raise a minimum amount of money to donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. For Greeks, it costs $400 to sponsor the first two dancers, $175 for each additional dancer and $100 for each moraler. Non-Greeks were asked to raise $100 per dancer and $50 per moraler. The inclusion of non-Greek organization participation began last year.

Greek Week president Keaton Macut said he was proud of his classmates.

“It’s great to see these kids put their troubles away for 24 hours and come out to help an amazing cause,” senior Macut said. “I’ve danced in the past, and it’s intrinsically rewarding.”

The marathon kicked off with an informational video about Cystic Fibrosis, which showed Pitt graduates affected by the disease, followed by hours of games and performances, including appearances from the Pitt cheerleaders, local rapper Chyron, the Pitt Hip-Hop Dance Crew and local band Formula 412.

At about 7 p.m. Saturday, after four hours of dancing, Jensen remained optimistic.

“You don’t get bored,” he said. “[The organizers] have done a great job.”

As soon as they were signed in, dancers and moralers received a colored T-shirt corresponding to their team. Each comprised various on-campus fraternities and sororities.

Sophomore Melissa Shapiro and junior Cat Donahue, both on the green team, said they enjoyed the new competitive aspect of the night.

“[PDM] is already better than last year,” Shapiro said.

Teams competed in events throughout the night, including a cornhole tournament, musical chairs and a relay race. The winners of the events earned points, and, at the last event, organizers crowned the pink team the color-war winners. The points won will go toward the Greek Week competition.

Regarding the night’s activities, Donahue added that she loved “tug of war, because everyone fell over.”

Jensen said he also enjoyed the tug of war and the competition as a whole.

“I love the whole … community aspect,” he said. “Everyone is competing, but at the same time we’re all coming together to push through and do this for a great cause.”

Editor’s note: the color-war winners were incorrectly stated in Monday’s print edition. The pink team won the competition. The Pitt News regrets the error.

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