Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Making History: SU Dance Marathon Merges with UW This Year


At Seattle University, Dance Marathon had folks moving for almost 24 hours, as the twelfth annual event unfolded. However, this year marked the first time that dancing bonded both Redhawks and Huskies alike.

Students at Seattle U and the University of Washington (UW) have united for the first time to put on the bustling, exciting event that is Dance Marathon—all because of an unusual change in weather.

The recent snowfall resulted in the cancellation of the UW’s own Dance Marathon, set to have taken place on Feb. 9. Once Executive Director Katie Kilpatrick and other members of Seattle U’s own Dance Marathon team heard of the sudden cancellation, they knew assistance was the only option.

“We know how hard they worked…I would be devastated if we had to cancel ours because of something we can’t control like the weather,” Kilpatrick said. “So we invited them not just to come and participate, but to make it a collaborative event.”

In what became a sporadic week of last-minute meetings and changes of plans, Seattle U and UW became the first Dance Marathons to ever merge.


Seattle U Dance Marathon participants dancing to raise money.

Run by over 300,000 dancing college students on 300 campuses across North America, Dance Marathon has become an iconic occurrence worldwide. Indiana University founded the first Dance Marathon in 1991, and now colleges across the country have danced to donate millions to their local hospitals, helping families and kids with illnesses.

How did Dance Marathon integrate itself into the heart of Seattle U? It all started when a couple students heard about the event from friends at other universities. The students decided to start SU Dance Marathon, and raised about $5,000 in their first year. Kilpatrick noted that although Seattle U is one of the smallest in size, the school boasts some of the top fundraising numbers year after year.

This year, Seattle U’s Dance Marathon had a new theme—space. SU Dance Marathon has implemented many changes and Kilpatrick described 2019 as a transition year for the organization.

“We really wanted to steer away from numbers and steer more into education, getting the word out, and promoting the whole idea that we really are all in this together for the kids,” Kilpatrick said. “That’s the main reason why we do this.”

Seattle U Dance Marathon raised $70,209 this year—about half as much money as they had raised in 2017 and 2018.

Awareness is on the rise for Dance Marathon, and with it the passion behind the event shines through. First-year Nursing major Kayleigh Lonergan has found a place within the community, especially as it relates directly to her future within the field of healthcare.

“As a nursing student, I hope to be able to make an impact at the very least in one family’s life, Lonergan said. “Even if we raise enough money to help one family, that’s everything. Just being able to do that is really incredible.”

Sophomore Nursing major Monika Aha felt similarly regarding the sense of community she instantly felt within Dance Marathon.

“I got involved last year very last- minute,” Aha said. “I just started dancing, and hearing the miracle kids’ stories really inspired me and made me genuinely care about the cause. It’s amazing to be a part of this, and it’s doing something that’s for such a great cause.” There is a sense of personal growth and community among SU Dance Marathon’s participants, as a great deal of members value the tight-knit group and reward of the experience as a whole. Both Seattle U and UW rolled with the punches, met each other in the middle, and prioritized the ultimate goal of the event to make this year happen for everyone.

Nicole may be reached at
[email protected]

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