State Dance Marathon has inspired students to come together for a great cause — in a record-setting way — for a decade.
Ten years of Dance Marathon at Indiana State have come and gone, and Sycamores are eager to usher in the organization’s next decade on campus this fall.
As a third-year member and president of the campus’ student organization, Kyle Hollinden enjoys being part of something bigger than himself in StateDM, as it’s known on campus.
“Since the beginning, State Dance Marathon has come a long way, from doubling our final numbers each year to increasing our involvement and attendance throughout campus,” Hollinden said. “The largest impact I have noticed is how students from day one of this organization are members for life. Our alumni support is one thing that just keeps giving back in more ways than one.”
Alumni support came in the form of the group’s first staff advisor, Hilary Duncan, who helped in founding the campus organization with five members. When Duncan stepped down as advisor in spring of 2019, StateDM had become the largest student group on campus with well over 100 members who raised more than $220,000 to benefit Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis last year.
“In 2009, Dance Marathon started with a group of passionate students who wanted to make a difference,” Duncan said. “They raised $4,000, and I don’t think anyone at the time quite understood how it would continue to grow over the next 10 years.”
Students in StateDM began encouraging their peers who were not in service-related majors, like health care or education, to bring to the table their talents in marketing, fundraising and other areas.
“Students involved with StateDM learn how to lead and collaborate with their peers, campus partners and community businesses. The valuable experiential learning experiences the students gain by joining this organization help them become even more marketable after graduation. They are able to add the experiences to their resumes and share with employers how they implemented ideas from start to finish,” Duncan said. “I’m amazed by all the students have done to make StateDM a success.”
State Dance Marathon’s impact on the lives of children treated at Riley Hospital for Children hasn’t escaped Emily Dircks, a senior pre-medicine major with minors in chemistry and nonprofit leadership from Freeburg, Ill.
“Every dollar, every post and every Riley story raises awareness for the incredible things that are going on at Riley Hospital for Children, and I want to make sure that people are aware of that,” she said. “Since my first year, State Dance Marathon has taken incredible strides, and I am excited to continue to be a part of that this upcoming year.”
Jessica Tevebaugh, a junior nursing major from St. Louis, joined StateDM to get involved on campus as a freshman.
“The organization really spoke to me since I plan to specialize in pediatric nursing,” she said. “I started out as a committee member and just recently took over as vice president of finance and could not be more proud to be a part of an organization that is bigger than ourselves. I’ve seen incredible growth in both participation and fundraising over just the past 2.5 years, with our largest fundraising milestone being $220,000.43 this past April.”
Senior elementary education major Bailey Grandstaff of Greenfield, Ind., joined StateDM as a freshman and now serves as vice president of membership.
“We work daily to change the kids’ lives through fundraising and continuing to spread awareness for the cause, but they are the ones changing our lives. They teach us to inspire others, to be joyful no matter what life throws at us, and to fully take part in something bigger than ourselves,” she said. “I am working to lead and inspire others to join the movement. I am really pushing them to hear me out and dip their feet into the cause because they will, too, leave a changed person.”