Students boogie at charity marathon

Amber Foley

Booming music, disco lights and people gettin’ down filled Coffman Union’s Great Hall on Wednesday evening as students dancing in Spring Jam’s Disco Bell-Bottom Marathon helped raise money for children with HIV and AIDS.
Twin Cities disc jockeys donated the music, while fraternities, sororities, residence halls and other student organizations provided the participants. A silent auction accompanied the marathon. Both worked to raise funds to benefit Camp Heartland.
Throughout the course of the evening, 700 to 800 people were expected to dance, said Jen Schaal, the philanthropy co-chairwoman for Spring Jam.
“It’s better than we ever expected — way more people came than we ever expected,” said Jackie Anderson, coordinator of Spring Jam.
She added this was because the charity has been stressed and has become a huge cause on campus.
The dance marathon started at 8 p.m. and lasted until 2 a.m. To participate, Schaal said that each organization needed to provide at least five participants, and each participant needed to raise $25 to dance for six hours.
“We not only want to break even, we want to make money to give to Camp Heartland,” Schaal said. The price of sending one child to camp is $1,200, and by the end of the week she estimates $15,000-$20,000 will be raised for Camp Heartland.
“I’m overwhelmed by the number of people that showed up and by the money figures,” Anderson said. She predicts that $5,000 will be generated by the dance marathon and silent auction. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to the camp.
Nonregistered students were able to dance as well. Everyone that showed up was showing their support and spirit, Schaal said.
Kate Unterborn, a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, said that her sorority sponsored five people to dance.
“Everyone is having a great time, and it’s for a great cause,” Unterborn said.
Schaal said that this is a campuswide event. Every two sororities were paired with one fraternity to make a team, and almost all residence halls are being represented by a team.
“It’s exciting to see the residence halls getting involved,” Schaal said. “We want people to know that it’s not just a greek thing.”
All of the items in the silent auction are donated, said Andrew Leonard, media coordinator for Spring Jam Events, and anyone can participate in it.
To help promote the auction, Minnesota Viking Matt Birk was at the event giving away frisbees and raffle tickets.
Items being auctioned off consisted of, among other things, REM tickets, Lyon Ballet tickets, Sun Country Airline flight vouchers and a Minnesota Vikings parka signed by John Randle.