The Columbia University Dance Marathon raised $18,085 for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation on Saturday night—more than $20,000 less than it raised in January.
Dance participants raised more than $13,609 from online contributions, with another $1,430 from registration fees. Donations at the actual marathon accounted for another $1,439.
But the total money raised Sunday was less than half of what they raised in January and less than a quarter of the $75,000 made in 2012.
Coordinators said that the amount raised may be due to the change in the timeline of the marathon—which usually takes place at the beginning of the winter semester. In moving the marathon forward—and keeping the dance marathon in the fall semester in the future—coordinators hope to better accommodate participants’ schedules, which they hope will be beneficial in the long run.
“We think, on a larger scale, this was a good move—it makes it less of a beginning-of-the-semester rush,” CUDM President Liora Hostyk, BC ’14, said, noting that Greek recruitment and theater callbacks often conflict with the marathon. “We did want to make the move to the first semester, but we didn’t want to wait until November 2014.”
With the event moved forward two months, however, participants were left with less time to raise money. Usually, the dance marathon date is announced in the fall, giving participants more than three months to raise funds.
“Last year, I did all of my fundraising as a dancer during winter break,” CUDM Treasurer Anna Lauria, BC ’16, said. “You don’t think about it until you’re home with nothing to do.”
Participants in this semester’s dance marathon found it more difficult to seek donations from larger companies, as organizations that had donated to the marathon in January were less willing to make a similar contribution in the same calendar year.
The reduced timeline also impacted the number of participants in the event. Taking place in the middle of the semester as opposed to the beginning of term when there are fewer academic commitments, this year’s marathon coincided with final papers and projects.
“I spoke to people who did it last year who heard about it but couldn’t do it this year because other things were going on,” participant Melissa Haney, BC ’14, said. “It was definitely hard because it was so soon.”
Other changes to CUDM included a $240 reduction in the fundraising goal for participants. While the change from $500 to $360 meant that CUDM could reach its target more quickly, the new price has a symbolic significance. The lower goal of $360 reflects “the cost of one year of medication for a woman who is HIV positive to give birth to an HIV-negative baby,” Hostyk said.
For organizers, more important than the final amount was the experience participants and coordinators gained from the event.
“It’s a tremendous amount that reflects really well on the dancers working in a short amount of time, and our sponsors,” Hostyk said.
“It reflects well on the cause,” Hostyk said. “It’s 900 women who can now get an HIV test, which is an amazing statistic.”