Dance Marathon increases recruitment efforts

BY JENNY EARL | AUGUST 31, 2011 7:20 AM

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Dance Marathon officials hope a new approach to recruitment will increase participation.

This year, the University of Iowa Dance Marathon will kick off recruitment with “Lime Days” — a week dedicated to supporting Dance Marathon’s cause and getting the public, and downtown Iowa City community more involved for the “big event” in February.

The organization has been around for 17 years and has raised more than $9.8 million for the kids at the UI Children’s Hospital. This year, the members hope to exceed the $10 million mark.

The UI will see a lot more lime green on campus this year, said Megan Penticoff, the Dance Marathon retention head.

The first event of Lime Days will begin Sept. 25 with a three-on-three basketball tournament at the Field House with awards and prizes going to the top performers. Anyone can sign up; it will cost $20 per team.

The biggest event of Lime Days will be the “Dance Marathon Celebration” on Sept. 28, in which the Dance Marathon DJ will perform in Hubbard Park along with free food, prizes, and various activities that people can participate in. There will also be blood drives on Sept. 29 and 30.

On Oct. 1, there will be a Downtown Community Day.

“This whole week is a new idea. We want to get more of a variety of people,” Penticoff said. “This year, we aren’t just hoping to recruit freshmen who have never participated, but sophomores, upperclassmen, the greek community, and anyone else.”

Every year, there is usually one week in fall dedicated to passing out fliers and getting the word out, but Penticoff said this year’s awareness efforts will focus on events.

In addition to increased awareness, organizers have been connecting with more local businesses.

“This year will be the first of hopefully many more downtown-wide community days,” said Michael Kinney, the group’s executive PR/marketing director. “We have worked with a large group of stores located in downtown Iowa City that have agreed to participate in this event and donate a certain percent of proceeds to the University of Iowa Dance Marathon.”

Some of the establishments participating include Bo-James, Discerning Eye, Formosa, and Herteen and Stocker Jewelers.

Lime Days will wrap up with a “For the Kids 5K” in Lower City Park on Oct. 2. Each runner who registers will receive a free T-shirt and a light breakfast, and the first 250 runners who register will receive a free noodle bowl from Noodles and Company. Cost of entry is $15.

Dance Marathon officials hope a week of recruitment will take Dance Marathon 18 to the next level.

“We are excited about another great year,” said Executive Director Elyse Meardon. Although she is especially excited about Lime Days, she also recognizes how helpful the community has been this year.

Meardon said Dance Marathon organizers are thankful for all the sponsors they’ve received so far.

Formosa — one of the group’s newest partners — has agreed to host a community night every Sunday from 5-9 p.m. and donate 10 percent of all food sales to Dance Marathon.

Lura Carstensen, the Dance Marathon event director, said the events are still being planned, but details will be updated on the Dance Marathon website, including information about how to register for the basketball tournament and the 5K.

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