Like the rest of Dance Marathon’s 500 dancers, Kyle Pendleton and Jen Meyers have readied for this weekend’s event by raising money, swearing off caffeine and making sure to get plenty of rest.
But Pendleton and Meyers stand out from other DM participants in one significant way — they aren’t students.
Pendleton, associate director of Greek affairs, and Meyers, student transitions coordinator, will attempt to be the first Northwestern staff members in 29 years to dance for the entire 30-hour marathon, which kicks off Friday night.
“Not finishing is not an option,” Pendleton said. “We will finish.”
Pendleton and Meyers aren’t nervous but they admit that being the first staff members to dance puts added pressure on them not to embarrass themselves.
“It’s kind of a big responsibility, because if we are able to do it, we can put other staff members up to it next year,” Meyers said. “But if we don’t, we will get a little teasing here and there.”
Catherine Whitcomb, assistant to the vice president for student affairs, said she admires the two for their stamina.
“There’s no way I can do it,” Whitcomb said. “I’m old enough to be their mother. My bedtime is 9 o’clock.”
But Pendleton said he’s worried he might be too old to keep up with student dancers.
“People think we’re crazy,” Pendleton said. “The students keep saying it’s not a problem, but they are a little bit younger than me and Jen.”
At past DMs, staff and faculty members have danced for one block of time on Saturday afternoon. This year, 18 staff members will join Meyers and Pendleton from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m Saturday.
Pendleton said he hopes staffers will be motivated to dance for the entire time in future years.
“Hopefully we are starting a trend that every year student affairs will have a dance team for the entire marathon,” Pendleton said.
Both Meyers and Pendleton are first-year staff members at NU and said they hope to form a strong bond with students through participating in DM.
The pair even plans to go all out for DM’s themed dance blocks.
“We’re looking forward to the Goonies and the ’80s because I remember the ’80s,” Pendleton said.
To raise the money required of all dancers, Pendleton and Meyers said they sent letters to family and friends. Pendleton said he was ready to go canning if needed.
“We met our goal, which was to double what we needed to raise to be dancers — $1,500,” Pendleton said. “And we still have money coming in. We are going to be fund raising right up until the last hour.”
Pendleton said he hopes the students he works with will give him extra encouragement on the dance floor.
“IFC, Panhel and NPHC better be out there supporting me,” Pendleton said. “I’m looking for lots of Gatorade and popsicles from them.”
Meyers said she’s also expecting to be pampered.
“I might be a little cranky at the end, but it will be worth it,” Meyers said. “I hope I get a lot of foot rubs.”