DM increases registration fee scholarships, considers gender-open changing rooms


Daily file photo by Annabel Edwards

Dancers celebrate during Dance Marathon 2014. This year, almost three times more participants than last year received scholarships to cover DM’s registration fee.

Olivia Exstrum, Campus Editor

Dance Marathon is working to increase inclusion and accessibility, including almost tripling the number of registration fee scholarships for participants, DM executive board members said Monday.

“We want every member of the Northwestern community to feel welcome, no matter their level of participation,” board members wrote in a statement.

Gender-open changing rooms may be available for students to use during DM, said Ander Aretakis, DM executive co-chair. The Weinberg senior said he is currently in conversation with Norris University Center and the Center for Student Involvement about the plausibility of creating such spaces.

“It’s not 100 percent guaranteed … but it’s something we’re actively pursuing and putting a priority on,” he told The Daily. “If Northwestern students do identify they want to utilize a gender-neutral changing room, we’ll find a space for them.”

Aretakis said more than 200 students received scholarships to cover the $50 registration fee this year, up from around 70 students last year. When registering for DM, students indicated whether they wanted to be considered for the scholarship. Undergraduate Financial Aid then provided University President Morton Schapiro’s office with a list of eligible students.

Last year scholarships were funded by Associated Student Government’s Senate Project Pool, Aretakis said. He said DM worked with Patricia Telles-Irvin, vice president of Student Affairs, and Burgwell Howard, assistant vice president of student engagement, who then discussed possible funding of the scholarship with the president’s office.

“It was really meant for students who considered the fee a barrier to participation,” Aretakis said, “So that was the goal, to remove one of the barriers to participation in DM.”

The statement also said a fundraising guide was made available to participants this year to provide ideas for fundraising.

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