When Phi Delta Epsilon’s (PDE) president, Jordan Yao, received a call about potentially developing SFU’s first Dance Marathon — and, in doing so, being the first Canadian university to participate — he immediately accepted.
On Mar. 1, SFU students gathered to dance for six hours, raising money for BC Children’s Charity. The day’s goal was to raise $10,000 — 10 times the chapter’s annual goal.
“This is a big increase, but we know that universities in the States raise as much as two million dollars!” Gurleen Gill, Dance Marathon event co-chair and senior member of the Phi Delta Epsilon Canada Beta chapter, explained on the Children’s Miracle Network blog.
Yao told The Peak that he saw how “huge this event was in the United States,” where most of the Phi Delta Epsilon chapters either participated in or hosted their own dance marathons.
The trend began in 1991, when students at Indiana University founded Dance Marathon in the memory of a fellow student. The program is now an international phenomenon, and has raised over $62 million in the US.
While the day was filled with smiling faces, Blake Hudie, dance relation chair, remarked that they were extremely fortunate that everything came together. He explained that “the timing was not in [our] favor as [we] were faced with the difficulty of competing with other charities like Balding for Dollars and Relay For Life.”
“I think it should be [ . . . ] executed annually and on a bigger scale.”
– Kelly Furey, public relations chair, Kappa Beta Gamma
Despite midterms, many students arrived at 11 a.m. to dance the day away. The turnout included members of UNICEF, Alpha Kappa Psi, the SFSS Power Rangers, and elementary and university students.
“I think this is a really great opportunity [ . . . ] for the greater community to come together as a whole for such a worthy cause,” said Kelly Furey, public relations chair, Kappa Beta Gamma. “I think it should be [ . . . ] executed annually and on a bigger scale.”
According to Valeriya Zaborska, PDE’s activity chair, the team’s creativity and ability to think on their feet was what “drove the event’s success.” While the team mentioned a few hiccups here and there, such as difficulties with booking equipment or the use of Simon Fraser Elementary’s gym rather than a space at the university, everyone was content with the cozy environment.
Close to the end of the event, the fraternity revealed the final fundraising figure to the audience; it read $10,707.84.
Zaborska had a few last words of inspiration for The Peak at the end of the day: “If you’re looking to take initiative and develop something new at SFU, take a chance. Split up the responsibilities, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You’ll learn and know where to improve on and make the future one much better.”