Northwestern’s Dance Marathon 2012 kicks off Friday

Joseph Diebold

The 38th year of Northwestern’s annual Dance Marathon – the school’s largest philanthropic event – kicks off Friday. More than 1,300 students are registered to dance for 30 consecutive hours without stopping until the event ends Sunday morning.

This year’s primary beneficiary is the Andrew McDonough B+ (Be Positive) Foundation, which benefits the fight against childhood cancer. McDonough was a 14-year-old who died of leukemia in 2007. The secondary beneficiary for DM 2012, for the 15th consecutive year, is the Evanston Community Foundation.

Weinberg senior Sourav Bhowmick, DM’s co-chair for public relations, said the B+ Foundation was chosen after a “very long and very competitive” process. Bhowmick said the partnership has been mutually beneficial.

“They’re a relatively young organization and we felt that by partnering with them we’d help them expand their scope not only financially but geographically as well,” he said. “By partnering with with Dance Marathon, they’ve been able to spread out their influence into the Midwest and other parts of the country.”

The three-day event caps a groundbreaking year for DM. Last year’s event set records in money raised – topping the $1 million mark for the first time – and dancers registered. DM was recognized as the nation’s Most Influential College Organization by the 2011 Classy Awards. Bhowmick said the organization has tried to make DM more of a year-long event.

“We’ve really focused on making Dance Marathon a year-long campaign instead of a weekend-long event,” he said. “Because of that, there’s been a lot of energy and enthusiasm building up the entire year.”

Bhowmick said the final stages of preparation are going well.

“We’re all really excited to see it culminate this weekend,” he said. “We think it’s going to be a great 30 hours and we can’t wait.”

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