Block 4: Bikini Bottom

Matthew Choi and Nora Shelly

While snow flurried outside, the Dance Marathon tent went tropical.

“Bikini Bottom” featured SpongeBob and beach themes for Block 4. As the sound of the Beach Boys filtered through the tent, a few dancers said weariness was setting in.

“It’s not physical tiredness yet, it’s more mental tiredness,” said SESP freshman Soyeon Shin.

Beth Parcell, a McCormick freshman, had similar sentiments. Though Parcell said she was a little tired, she remained optimistic.

“I’m feeling like this block is going to pump me up,” she said.

Shin said she was also looking forward to finishing the block on a high note.

For many, that high note came when dancers raced around Norris University Center to end the block.

“It’s been going in and out. There are some blocks where I’ve been feeling dead,” Medill freshman Eden Lichterman said after running. “But right now I’m feeling okay.”

Before the run, Betty Bogg, executive director of Connections for the Homeless, an Evanston charity that provides housing support to homeless and at-risk people, told the crowd how donations would help her organization.

Bogg said Connections — which receives funds from the Evanston Community Foundation — had to close down its daily drop-in center in 2015 after their state funding was cut.

Quickly after, the visibility of homelessness in Evanston increased, and it became clear the service was necessary for homeless people in the city, Bogg said.

“What we didn’t count on was the uptick in the visibility of homelessness in Evanston,” she said. “We knew we need to reopen it, but we didn’t have the funds.”

With help from ECF, Connections was later able to reopen the center for two days a week, Bogg said. This year, she said it is hoping to reopen full time. Funds raised from DM would help them accomplish that, she said.

“We’re rooting for you today, because you will help us fully open the drop-in center,” she said. “So now once again people living on the streets can do the basic things we all need to do to maintain our dignity … we and they are tremendously grateful.”

After Bogg spoke, emcees Daniel Abia and Kinsey Erickson — two Weinberg sophomores — took the stage and encouraged dancers to reach out on social media for fundraising.

Abia reminded the dancers why they were in the tent.

“We’re trying to fundraise to build an area where people feel safe, feel accepted, feel loved, feel cared for, everything I would ever want to feel,” he said. “We’re trying to build that safe space everywhere.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @noracshelly

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @noracshelly