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A Different Kind of Marathon

A Different Kind of MarathonHundreds of students come together in a night-long dance marathon benefiting the Children's Trust Fund of Massachusetts.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [04.02.08] A week before 20,000 runners will participate in Boston's 26.2-mile marathon, hundreds of Tufts students will take part in a marathon of a completely different sort.

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate-sponsored Dance Marathon will bring upwards of 45 dance teams together on April 4 from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. the following morning. Each of the 10-person teams have been working to meet the event's fundraising goal of $10,000, which will be donated to the Children's Trust Fund of Massachusetts. The money will specifically fund the organization's Healthy Families Program, which is dedicated to stopping child abuse and promoting healthy families in the state.

The event will include a variety of dance-related activities, such as conga lines, the limbo, "dancing through the decades" and dance-off competitions. In addition to the dance component, there will be student performances, mock game shows and a non-dancing section where people can do arts and crafts, play Twister and board games, get massages and hang out.

Event coordinator Deborah Block, a senior majoring in American studies who is the special projects chair for the TCU Senate, took some time to discuss the event in the days leading up to it.

Signups are still available for the marathon and donations can be brought in the form of cash or checks made out to the Children's Trust Fund. For more information, visit 

How did you get involved with the Dance Marathon at Tufts?

This year, one of my responsibilities [as special projects chair for the TCU Senate] was the Dance Marathon. I took on the project, and we established a committee of eight to 10 people, who started meeting in the very beginning of the school year-probably in September or October. Since then, we've been meeting once a week in order to plan this event.It should be the best of both worlds, in terms of both campus involvement as well as doing great work for an organization.

Is this the Dance Marathon's first year at Tufts?

The Dance Marathon was actually done a couple of years ago, but I don't think it really hit it off too well. This is definitely the first year that it will be done on such a large scale as this is. We have sponsorship from so many different groups on campus, including the Inter-Greek council, the Leonard Carmichael Society, the Class Councils, the Dean of Student Affairs Office and the President's Office.

What kind of work went into the planning for the event?

It was everything from advertising to logistics to fundraising; getting our website set up, student outreach, talking to businesses in the surrounding area, talking to representatives from the Children's Trust Fund. We had a kickoff fundraiser to plan at [the Somerville restaurant] Sound Bites. We re-routed the Joey to drop people off at Sound Bites for a breakfast-for-dinner kickoff event, which was so successful. We also had another event in Hotung [Café] where we had [student dance troupes] Turbo and Blackout perform, just to pump everybody up for the dance marathon and to register.

Why do you think an event like this is important in bringing the community together?

The Children's Trust Fund actually has offices and programs right in Somerville, so it's great because we're working to help the community throughout Massachusetts, but also the community right in our backyard. I've been working all year with representatives from the Children's Trust Fund, and about five to 10 of them will be present at the marathon, and one of them will come and speak during the opening ceremonies.

Are you happy with the way that things have happened so far, and the way that all of the planning has come together?

I'm so happy: it hasn't happened yet, but as far as I'm concerned, it's already a success.So many people are excited about it, and it's awesome, because I log into the website, and I see so many people signed up-people I have never even met before-so the word is definitely getting out there. I have an unbelievable committee that is so dedicated and motivated to help out and make this happen; everything has been working out so smoothly.

What are you looking forward to the most?

I'm just looking forward to watching everyone who is participating have such a fun time, because that's really what it's for. [The Dance Marathon's] purpose is to bring students together in doing something a little bit different, and raise money in order to help out a great organization in our area.

Last but not least, what is your favorite dance move?

I think I'd have to say the electric slide, because it has instructions. I like all those types of dances-the Macarena, the Cotton Eyed Joe, the Electric Slide. They're all fun dances where you don't have to think too much.

Interview by Charlotte Steinway (A'10)

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