Keep on dancing

By By Rochelle McConkie

By Rochelle McConkie

Students are preparing to dance their way to a cure for cancer with the new Rock the U dance marathon.

“Rock the U is on fire right now,” said Angie McMurray, executive director of the event. “There is tons to do, but a lot is happening.”

So far, about 30 dancers have committed to participate in this 26.2-hour event sponsored by the Associated Students of the University of Utah, promising to stay on their feet and individually raise at least $300 for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation.

The Rock the U committee hopes to recruit 350 dancers to participate in the event and raise $90,000. So far, it have raised about $1,000 through online donations.

“We make goals because they motivate us, so if something comes up we can change them,” McMurray said.

In early November, some committee members attended a dance marathon at Indiana University.

“We kept hearing so many people say it was a life-changing event; I heard it over and over from different people,” McMurray said. “We have so much more vision and excitement now that we’ve seen it happen.”

Indiana has held a dance marathon for the past 16 years and raised $920,000 at the last event.

For the U’s marathon, all registered dancers are able to create their own Web pages on Rock the U’s Web site at Active.com/donate/rocktheu, where they can send mass e-mails to request online donations from various sources.

Student Body President Jake Kirkham said, “I sent out mass e-mails to my friends and within a couple of hours, I raised almost $500. Most of the people that donated were students-it really shows how excited people are about this.”

ASUU Finance Director Kasey Kalian is a dancer who signed up for the event. “I had a friend who died from cancer in high school-it’s a good motivation for me,” he said.

Members of the Rock the U committee are also required to raise $300 to give to the cancer foundation. All dancers and committee members are organized into teams.

The committee is also looking to form a morale team that will dance with the participants but will be given breaks to keep up the energy. “Kind of like cheerleaders,” McMurray said.

Only registered dancers will be able to participate in the dance marathon, which will take place March 15 and 16. Spectators are encouraged to attend and donate care packages for the dancers.

While the event was originally going to be held at the Huntsman Center, the committee is now looking for a change in location.

“The Huntsman Center is not the right shape of space, and our budget was not enough to cover the basic facility fees,” McMurray said. “We didn’t want to spend too much money on just paying for facilities.”

Ideas for a new location include the Field House and the Marriott Courtyard Plaza, which would be covered with heated tents. The committee is expected to reach its decision to change the location before the end of the semester. Visit www.asuu.utah.edu/rocktheu/ for more information.