The Greek Senate of Kean University held its annual Kean Dance Marathon (KDM) Kickoff to begin the countdown to the marathon in April. The kickoff was from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m in the Miron Student Center (MSC) atrium on Monday, November 7, 2016.
The half-hour event was filled with performances from the Kean Dance Team and speeches from the Assistant Director of the Center for Leadership and Service (CLS) Alex Louis. In an effort to raise money for the Children's Specialized Hospital, KDM hopes to raise over $40,000 in its dance festival during the spring semester, a number higher than last year's $30,000.
This year will be different however, as the Greek Senate elected to have a theme devoted to the endeavor of raising money for the fight against childhood illness and disability. Titled "Kean Dance Marathon: This Generation Fighting For The Next," this year's theme will be centered around the 1990s, a personal favorite for students at Kean University, according to Orlando Taylor, senior finance major and president of Greek Senate.
"It was between superheroes, cartoons and Disney. We voted on it, and everyone came to the conclusion that the 90's -- from hip-hop to cartoons, and basically everything was the best choice," said Taylor.
Other leaders of the kickoff spoke on why a theme was important for this year, including Ashley Buchanan, Greek Senate vice president of programming and senior psychology major.
Over the summer, we tried to figure out ways to make the event more fun, and one of those ways was creating a theme, so of course, as Greek Senate, we picked a theme, we brought it our general body senate and voted on it," said Buchanan. "We were trying to find more ways to make KDM better. Sometimes it takes time to get the best outcome, so I'm really, really excited to see the theme this year. We're gonna add a different element this year."
Although this dance marathon has yet to begin, fundraising to support the all-day dance party has already begun, as KDM has made approximately $3,000 for this event, according to Greek Senate President Taylor. "We have other organizations that help out and create their own team. They could raise around $500, and there's always another update constantly."
any students who attended this kickoff commended its organization and quality of performance, although it was only for a half-hour. As the KDM Kickoff was filled with performances ranging from the Kean Dance Team, to different sororities and fraternities including Chi Upsilon Sigma and Iota Phi Theta, attendees were quite entertained. Someone even decided to give a soulful rendition of James Brown for the festivity of the event. Fiona Digennaro, senior marketing major and avid singer, showed her pipes to the audience.
I was really nervous, I don't usually perform in front of a big crowd, so it was exhilarating!" she said.
Digennaro, an advocate for the Children's Miracle Network, gave her thoughts on the organization of KDM.
The Children's Miracle Network is something very near and dear to my heart, and I used to be a part of the organization so I raised funds for them," Digennaro said. "It's a rewarding feeling knowing that you're giving back and knowing that this money is going towards a good location. It's just a really good thing."
Kean's annual marathon has happened every spring semester since 2011, running from noon until midnight, and has raised over $75,000 for Children's Specialized Hospital. The next KDM will take place on Friday, April 7, 2017 at Downs Hall. Students and others who want to contribute to the day-long dance party are encouraged to sign up online at www.keandancemarathon.com.