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Loyola University New Orleans Dance Marathon 2017 Sees Highest Growth in the Nation

Loyola press release - July 27, 2017

Loyola University New Orleans’ Student Government Association recently learned that a new signature event, Dance Marathon 2017, saw the highest percentage growth in fundraising in the nation. Dance Marathon is a nationwide movement involving college and high school students at more than 150 schools across the U.S., all raising money for local Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. This year, Loyola’s Student Government Association raised more than $24,000 for the university’s local Children's Miracle Network Hospital, Children’s Hospital of New Orleans.

Dollars raised at Loyola University New Orleans soared a whopping 404 percent over funds raised in 2016. All proceeds will directly benefit families and sick children treated at the local hospital.

Loyola’s Student Government Association raised the money for Children’s Hospital through a six-hour dance-off held on campus in April in the University Sportsplex. The event drew participation from approximately 230 students, many of whom helped to raise funds crowdsourcing through Facebook. Loyola students also helped gain support from local organizations including: Chipotle, Blaze Pizza, Halal Guys, Reginelli’s, New Orleans Hamburger Seafood Company, La Madeleine, Liberty Cheesesteaks, Dat Dog and the Mellow Mushroom.

“From January to April, we were busy partaking in events to raise awareness by having fundraisers at Chipotle, Blaze Pizza, and smaller events on campus,” said Amy Watkins, a Loyola senior, SGA member and executive director of Dance Marathon 2017. “On April 1, the year culminated with the 6-hour BIG event to celebrate the children’s fight against cancer and remember those who have lost their battle. Some of the children and families were able to attend the event and experience what our Loyola community is all about — commitment to service, appreciation for both things big and small, and of course, celebrating life.”

SGA aimed to raise $10,000, Watkins said. The student organization doubled that, and then some.

“Through generous donors and dedicated students involved in this movement, we were able to surpass our goal by first week of February,” Watkins said. “Our Jesuit education emphasizes the magis, or doing more for others, so we decided to increase our fundraising goal to $20,000. By the night of April 1, we raised a total of $24,183 dollars.”

In so doing, Loyola New Orleans’ Dance Marathon fundraising growth beat that of top universities: Boston University (346 percent growth), Middle Tennessee State University (306 percent growth), University of West Florida, and Xavier University (219 percent).

In April, the Office of Student Affairs at Loyola also honored the SGA for its work on the Dance Marathon with an award for “Outstanding Student Program, Event, or Initiative.”

“This award does not belong to any one individual, nor solely to SGA, but rather to every single person who participated in this event in any capacity big or small. Be it through fundraising, tabling, sharing posts, or raising awareness for Dance Marathon, you all made this event as well as this award possible,” said SGA president Elisa Diaz in a Facebook post to participants. “The success of the 2017 Dance Marathon truly demonstrates what it means to strive for more, and we in the Student Government Association would like to thank you all for making this possible. For the Kids, always.”