Dance Marathon: Alumni form network


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Courtney Bond said she looked everywhere for an outlet to support Dance Marathon after she graduated from the UI.

But the English and journalism major was at a loss on how to stay engaged with the friends and families she met in her four years volunteering with the event. She also wasn’t sure how to channel Dance Marathon’s profound effect into her daily work as an assistant marketing director for the UI Foundation.

Bond didn’t take long to remedy that.

She laid the foundation for the Dance Marathon Alumni Group after graduation in 2006, before helping the organization become an official branch of the UI Alumni Association in 2008.

Now the group’s director, she has played a key role in transforming the volunteer alumni organization into a national network, spanning the scope of Dance Marathon’s 16-year history.

“Ever since we’ve gotten this thing on board, the group has essentially run itself,” she said. “People have expressed so much interest, and it has been apparent since the beginning Dance Marathon has made a difference in a lot of lives.”

To celebrate the start of Dance Marathon this weekend, the alumni group will gather for dinner Friday, and this year’s batch of student organizers will host a lunch strictly for alums on Saturday.

The group operates year-round, regularly sending newsletters to the thousands of former dancers who had leadership roles, Bond said. Those who were just dancers often return for the “Big Event,” though she said group members are not sure how many alumni Dance Marathon has produced.

In the last year, the group has hosted various gatherings, mostly in the Midwest, said Bond, who served as development director for Dance Marathon as a UI senior.

Former participants also have the chance to raise at least $100 for the chance to boogie throughout the afternoon.

But Adam Blind, who is the group’s vice president of finance, said the focus of the group is on reconnecting, not fundraising.

And organizers remain confident that as long as Dance Marathon exists, graduates will still want to participate.

Seth Jackson, a UI nursing-school student and 2010 morale captain, said he sees himself coming back every year.

“I see Dance Marathon being a part of my life for a long time,” he said.

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