HOYA-THON Hoya-Thon Raises $18K for Charity By Cherise Williams Special to The Hoya

Charles Nailen/The Hoya Keyoni Carter, of Capital Heights, MD dances at Georgetown’s second annual 24-hour dance marathon this weekend. Hoya-thon raised over $18,000 for charity.

Georgetown’s second annual Hoya-thon – a 24-hour dance marathon to collect money for the Children’s Hospital of D.C. – raised over $18,000 this weekend.

Hoya-thon Chair Adam Doverspike (SFS ’03) said he was confident the event would double the $5,000 raised last year.

“How much you raise goes up if the number of people involved goes up,” he said.

Doverspike said he and the Hoya-thon committee worked to get more people involved. This year there were about 40 dancers and 120 staffers alone. Various Georgetown clubs and organizations, such as GUSA and the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, sponsored dancers while other groups, such as Ballroom Dance, Grace Notes and Saxatones, provided entertainment for the 24 hours.

Two-time dancer Chantal Samonte (COL ’04) said her experiences last year prompted her to participate again this year.

“Last school year I saw a flier that said `Can you dance for 24 hours?’ I said `I think I can’ and signed up to be a dancer,” Samonte said “It didn’t hit me until I was here dancing and the kids came that this [was such] a good cause.”

Children from the Children’s Hospital of D.C. came again this year throughout the night. Jamie King, who works with the Children’s Hospital Foundation, served as a liaison between the hospital and Hoya-thon.

“The committee has put in nine months of work for this year’s event. When it’s over, they’ll say thank you and start all over again for next year,” she said. “That says a lot about what students are willing to do [for others]. They give their time and money -that’s great.”

The idea of Hoya-thon was first brought to Georgetown by Kevin Preis (COL ’01) after he heard about a similar dance marathon at Pennsylvania State University. A committee was established and two years later Hoya-thon began. Students worked with Director of Student Programs Mary Kay Schneider to get Hoya-thon up and running. Schneider also worked along with dance marathons during her college days.

“Dance marathons help build tradition and memories on college campuses,” Schneider said. “A student can go out and party any weekend and soon forget that party. But you’ll remember dancing for a lifetime,” she said.

Interested dancers had to raise a minimum sponsorship of $100. They could either solicit the money themselves or have various organizations, friends or family members to sponsor them. Many dancers, however, went over this mark. Hoya-thon also received corporate sponsorship and donations – Ben and Jerry’s donated ice cream and coupons, Coca-Cola donated $2,500 and Subway donated $5,000 and provided meals.

During Hoya-thon, there was a plethora of DJs, bands, music, games and even karaoke to keep spirits high. The morale staffers also played an integral part in creating a positive atmosphere.

“My job was simply to boost everyone up and help the dancers stay energized,” first time morale staff member Chi-Chi Chijioke (COL ’05) said.

While dancers hula-hooped to ’80s music and formed soul train lines to classic R&B and soul songs, staff members brought food to them, danced with them and even gave them massages during the 15 minute breaks dancers took every four hours. Whenever dancers felt tired or sluggish they were given a “standing ovation,” where all staffers and dancers applauded and reminded that person of the good work he or she was doing.

“Physically, I’m exhausted,” Michael Bayer (COL ’05), a first time dancer, said. “But I feel like it’s just started and I could go on. I would definitely do it again.”

Doverspike said that while Hoya-thon involved months of planning and a lot of work, in the end, “it’s all about the children, the cause and staying on your feet,” he said.

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