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Northwestern Students Put Positive Spin on 2012 Dance Marathon

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The record-breaking number of nearly 1,300 undergraduate students who have registered to dance for 30 hours for two worthy causes March 2 to 4 during Northwestern University Dance Marathon (NUDM) 2012 won’t be the only ones with tender feet and bleary eyes this weekend. Alumni in another state and locally will be joining them.

NUDM dancing on the Evanston campus will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, March 2 and continue through 1 a.m. Sunday, March 4 at Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive. The event -- the culmination of a yearlong fundraising effort -- will be streamed live to Evanston and Chicago campus locations and on the Dance Marathon website at For a $40 donation, energetic Northwestern alumni in the area will have an opportunity to dance from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at Norris.

Northwestern alumni will also aid in the fundraising by attending a Mini-Dance Marathon at an “Alumnite” location in Minneapolis tonight (Feb. 29) and another in Seattle this Friday (March 2). And last weekend, alumni took part in four other Mini-Dance Marathons in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. The Chicago event was held at John Barleycorn, a Lincoln Park neighborhood pub.

Now in its 38th year -- and one of the largest student-run philanthropies in the world -- NUDM has raised more than $12 million for more than two-dozen charities. Last year, it raised more than $1 million in cash and in-kind donations for The Children’s Heart Foundation and Evanston Community Foundation.

This year, funds will go to The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation for childhood cancer research. The foundation was established in memory of a 14-year-old soccer athlete and 'A' student from Wilmington, Del., who lost his valiant fight against acute myelogenous leukemia in 2007. Andrew’s B+ blood type and his “be positive” attitude became the foundation’s motto. During the past four years, the foundation has awarded more than $1 million in grants and financial aid to families of children with cancer and funded childhood cancer research.

The Evanston Community Foundation (ECF) will receive 10 percent of funds raised. As the secondary beneficiary for the 15th consecutive year, ECF will use this year’s proceeds to help Evanston thrive through grants to local organizations and to help fund ECF’s own programs that assist nonprofit organizations.

Alumni and the public can help with the fundraising by making donations online at or by participating in NUDM events at Norris Center. In the past, these special weekend activities have brought thousands of visitors to Norris.

Friday, March 2

NUDM Public Visiting Hours from 8 p.m. to midnight, Friday, March 2, and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 3, Norris Center. Admission is $5.

NUDM Silent Auction, 7 p.m. Friday, March 2 through 1 a.m. Sunday, March 4, on the ground floor of Norris Center and online. Bids on prize items donated by local vendors, corporate sponsors and celebrities can be made online at throughout Dance Marathon 2012. Computers will be set up at the auction for participants to place their bids directly into the NUDM system. Prizes will include signed Northwestern memorabilia, gift packages and gift certificates.

Saturday, March 3

10K Lakefill Run, 7 a.m. check-in and 7:30 a.m. start on race day. Entry fee is $20 online or $30 on the day of the race. 5K Run, 8 a.m. check-in and 8:30 a.m. start. Entry fee is $15 online or $25 on the day of the race. Runners should check-in on race day at the front entrance of Norris University Center. Water, sports drinks and assorted snacks will be provided throughout the race. Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place prizewinners. For more information or to register online, visit

Kids Fair, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Norris Center, ground floor. Northwestern student groups will host craft and activity booths for children of all ages. Cost is $5 per family.

DM Spa, 1 to 6 p.m. Norris Center, ground floor. Visitors supporting Dance Marathon can experience luxury spa services, including 8-minute massages, manicures, pedicures and hairstyling, at discount prices ranging from $10 to $25.

Battle of the Bands performance by competition winner Jet Jaguar, 5:05 p.m., NUDM mainstage, Norris Center. Entrance fee $5 for 15-minutes on the DM visitor’s platform.

More on Dance Marathon

Since the first Dance Marathon in 1975, dancers who have signed up have often been part of a student organization or dorm-sponsored team. In order to dance this year, each dancer had to raise a minimum of $400.

Since the start of the 2011-12 academic year, 300 NUDM student committee members have been reaching out to fellow students, alumni throughout the world and the public by word-of-mouth, email and other web-based and mobile technologies to invite them to participate in fund-raising activities.

They also have “canned” on street corners for donations throughout the Chicago area, participated in letter writing campaigns, devised creative fundraising activities including weekly trivia nights and NUDM Top Chef and Battle of the Bands competitions, and held information sessions or “firesides” in campus dormitories to spread the word about the annual fundraiser.

Multi-hour dance marathons have also been held by two suburban Chicago high schools. Evanston Township High School students will donate the proceeds they raised last November to NUDM’s two beneficiaries as well as to Special Olympics. Oak Park and River Forest High School students will donate all the money they raised in January to NUDM’s two beneficiaries.

For more information, visit

Watch highlights from Dance Marathon 2011

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