The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

Dancing for a cause

Dancers arrived in front of the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports Friday afternoon under clear, sunny skies with a lofty goal in mind. When they departed Saturday evening, the weather had become cold and wet, though not even the greatest of rainstorms could have overshadowed the fact that they had just been part of the most successful Mustang Marathon in school history.

This year’s grand total, including both campus and in-kind donations, surpassed $118,000.

“I was thrilled,” said senior co-director Aimee Alexander. “Everyone put their heart and soul into the event as much as they could and it paid off more than I can imagine.”

For 24 hours, participants danced to the entertaining sounds of Poison Cherry, learned spirit chants from the SMU Cheerleading Team and enjoyed food from area restaurants such as Stromboli Café and Texadelphia.

In addition, visits from campus administrators like Arlene Manthey, Jim Caswell and Traci Ray served as pick-me-ups as the hours grew longer.

One of the unwavering morale boosters, however, was the knowledge that dancers had raised their money for a worthy cause. Following a precedent set in 2002, all proceeds from this year’s fourth annual Mustang Marathon will be divided evenly between two beneficiaries: local charity Bryan’s House and the Elizabeth Glaser Foundation, each of which focus on making a difference in the lives of terminally ill children and their families.

Unlike past years, however, actual Bryan’s House patients were not present on the second day of the marathon, leaving veterans such as Ann Truong and her friends a bit disappointed.

“When some of the dancers heard that the kids weren’t going to make it,” she said, “they were actually devastated because they were looking forward to seeing where the money was going, firsthand.”

Despite this setback, the buzz created when dancers hit the floor at 6 p.m. Friday ceased to let up until the final numbers had been announced.

“I think a lot of the energy and great morale was based on the dedicated dancers,” Alexander said. “They really did want to be there.”

Truong added that some acoustically pleasing sounds contributed to the enthusiasm.

“The energy was up,” she said, “and what made a big difference was keeping the music going (all 24 hours). It is a dance marathon, after all.”

Keeping energy a top priority, awards were handed out Saturday evening for the most spirit male and female dancers. Senior Mike Jordhoy took home the male spirit honors for the second consecutive year.

One of this year’s changes was the transition to a family system. In the first three years of the marathon, each dancer was simply asked to raise their money as an individual; this year, dancers signed up as a family of up to 10 members. Families represented fraternities, sororities and various other campus organizations.

Within each family, members were challenged to raise $400 a piece, totaling $4,000 per group.

Chi Omega was recognized as the top fundraising organization while sophomore philosophy major Andrea Norris reeled in nearly $1,400 as the top individual fundraiser.

When asked what motivated her to raise almost $1,000 more than what was required, Norris replied, “I realized that it was for the kids and for a greater good than me just staying up 24 hours.”

A second-year dancer, Norris explained that she plans to participate in the event until she graduates.

“I think [Mustang Marathon] could show people that there is a bigger world out there than just our campus,” she said.

Likewise, co-director Alexander holds a positive outlook on the future of the philanthropy event.

“It can only go up from here,” she said. “I hope that some people get into it and love it as much as we all did, because it can become something huge.”

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