Dakotathon combines with State-A-Thon for first-ever virtual dance marathon
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Dakotathon combines with State-A-Thon for first-ever virtual dance marathon

Dakotathon and State-A-Thon put aside the USD and SDSU rivalry to combine fundraising forces for this year’s virtual dance marathon. Together as South Dakota Dance Marathon, they raised $242,605.20 for Children’s Miracle Network. 

The virtual dance marathon took place on Facebook and featured videos from miracle families and dances performed throughout the day. 

The event started at 10 a.m. with words from Dean of Students Kim Grieve. Later at 11 a.m., members of South Dakota Dance Marathon came together via Zoom to show their morale dance. 

Ryan Scholten, Co-Dakotathon overall chair, said transitioning online was challenging since there was limited time to plan. He said while it was difficult, not having an event wasn’t really an option. 

“We felt the message that we share and the impact we provide for countless people was still incredibly important and we decided to go ahead and try to deliver the event virtually,” Scholten said in an email interview with The Volante. “We are still focusing on providing a life-changing and impactful event for the students of USD and the families we benefit.”

While Dakotathon usually has a fundraising goal, Regan Jensen, Co-Dakotathon overall chair, said this year they wanted to focus on the event itself. 

“We know that people are having troubles financially right now. And we understand that obviously, it can be more difficult to fundraise in a climate like this,” Jensen said. “Our goals mainly are just to get people involved and excited about our cause and aware of all of the great things that CMN provides to our families.”

While the world slows down due to COVID-19, Scholten said the fight for the kids has not. The battle to cure childhood illness is a long endeavor, he said and is especially important now. 

“The families and their miracle children continue to have the same medical needs regardless of whether or not we can meet in-person for the event,” Scholten said. “The fight these kids are going through has not (slowed down). Particularly considering the number of miracle kiddos that have respiratory diseases or are immunocompromised, the dollars going to support CMN are more important now than ever.” 

Collaborating with State, Jensen said, was a little odd at first, considering most people on the exec teams were meeting for the first time online to put together the event. Overall, she said having both schools work together was a good experience. 

“It went exponentially better than I could have ever expected,” Jensen said. “State has an amazing team and I’m very, very glad we got to work with them. I think it’s a unique experience for this year’s Dakotathon.” 

Both co-chairs said collaborating with State offered new perspectives and opportunities to try new things that hadn’t been done before. Scholten said he hopes this is only the first collaboration Dakothon and Statathon can do. 

The virtual event was overall very successful, Scholten said, despite a few technological difficulties. 

“As long as we can change but one person’s life with this event, we will have surpassed any goal I could have for us,” Scholten said.