Firing Squad: DM unrealistic (Forum)

Christopher Danzig

Dance Marathon is not perfect. It doesn’t deserve the sacred treatment many Northwestern students unequivocally give it.

Raising $800 is not simple and easy. It takes a lot of time and envelope licking, not to mention well-financed relatives and family friends. I danced my freshman year and bled my connections dry asking for donations. Now, when someone asks me to participate, my response remains the same. I can’t. I have no more second-cousins from whom I would solicit donations.

Don’t get me wrong, DM was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but while I know an inherent part of philanthropy is self-sacrifice, I’m not comfortable constantly asking my family for money.

DM also has a myopic selection of beneficiaries. For the last four years, DM has focused almost exclusively on children. This year’s primary charity, Bear Necessities, works with pediatric cancer. Last year’s donations went to Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, an all-ages group. Yet during DM, children with epilepsy and severe learning disabilities were brought into the Louis Room as if they were the only beneficiaries. The two previous years benefited pediatric AIDS and juvenile diabetes research.

Kids are an easy fund-raising choice, but other needy, albeit less cute, groups such as the elderly, the homeless, the physically or mentally handicapped could use the massive sum DM raises each year. DM is not a panacea of student activism. It can and should be critiqued like everything else at this school. We shouldn’t let the admittedly overwhelming spectacle of a 30-hour dance party cloud our judgment.

– Christopher Danzig

Forum editor