DM2012: An Early Retrospective

April 11, 2012

It’s only been a handful of days since the madness of the College Ave gym finally settled after raising our 2012 total of $442,705.06 and for me the memories are just finally starting to settle in.  Undoubtedly this Marathon featured some amazing moments: Stan The LX bus driver got up on stage and inspired the crowd, Alissa Purifico came back and delivered two electric Zumba performances, Eric LeGrand taught the CAG to believe, and RU4Kids  left everyone standing misty eyed.

While all of those are fantastic, the one memory which sticks with me is one that many people likely missed.  It was in the aftermath of the total, after the gym had gone mad seeing the 400,000 mark not only eclipsed but smashed.  The CPT came together, hugged, and some of us even cried.  As time passed on, we started to group closer together and all of us instinctively knew what was going to happen.

Just like at the beginning of every CPT meeting, we gathered around in a circle, put our arms on each others shoulders and began to chant.  While usually our chant is a loud, yet slightly subdued affair, this time we held nothing back.  Vittoriana danced in the middle, threatening to break the floor with her dancing as she punctuated each break with her trademark “WHAT!”. Every time we responded with our “D-D-D-DM”, screaming our hearts out from our hoarse lungs.

In that moment we saw what we had come to know all year long: everyone wearing red on that stage had become a family.  We had sacrificed nights, weekends, and parts of our summers in an effort to make the perfect Marathon.  In that moment, we realized that we had put together the type of marathon that dreams are made of. And in that moment, each of us realized that the 28 people we wanted to share that with were standing right there on stage with us.

Applications to join this family are now available at http://marathon.rutgers.edu, and although I’m a little biased, I would highly encourage you to apply.  Not only will you get to work with some of the most talented, passionate, and caring people at Rutgers, but also you’ll get to do it while making a difference in the lives of some really awesome kids.


That moment where you realized you accomplished your wildest goals

April 3, 2012

Warning: This blog is a lengthy one, but if you want to hear the post-DM reflections of a CPTer I like to think it’s worth a read.  The writing might be a bit rough around the edges, but for once I’m just going to let it be and post it in its current state.  I don’t want my post-writing edits to remove any of the original thoughts behind the post.


This blog post starts with a confession: I was probably the least enthusiastic person in the entire gym when the total was raised on Sunday afternoon.  As the alumni up on stage unfurled the banner for us to see, pretty much the entire CPT exploded into jumps, tears, and general jubilation.  Not me though, if you look at any of the pictures of the total you’ll see me on stage right, casually leaning against the Hurricane Productions table as the rest of the CPT exploded in one burst of emotion.

It wasn’t some sort of act I was putting on in an attempt to seem like the “cool kid” of the CPT who kept his composure even when The Marathon was at its emotional peak.  In part it was due to me expecting such a high number (it probably would’ve taken 520,000+ to really surprise me), but in part it was me simply not really being impressed with what happened the previous 32 hours.

You see, I went into RUDM2012 with pretty much three goals: make sure our sponsors know they were appreciated (for a full list of them check out the front page of our website), get our hashtag all over twitter, and get as much media as humanly possible.  The first two were pretty easily accomplished thanks to tweet scheduling and Hurricane Productions respectively, thus leaving the third as my team’s only real challenge.

To this end, the week leading up to Dance Marathon I went into full on plan mode.  I memorized the master schedule like the back of my hand, accidentally spouting off times to anyone who mentioned the slightest detail of The Marathon.  When it got deleted on Thursday afternoon, it was dutifully recreated down to the slightest detail.  Then Friday, Saturday and Sunday came as the time for us to put that planning to the test.

What followed over the next 60ish hours can only be described as a blur.  Times would come and go not as any physical occurrence but only as markers, notes of how many more units passed before the next thing on the list came to be checked off.  Every time a new event on the schedule would occur my Captains or I would head out to the floor, grab that set of content and head back into the media room, organizing everything into folders and sub folders, watermarking, and then putting it all on Facebook for the world to see, all while keeping up on the latest twitter had to offer.

Closing ceremonies was the last item on the list before cleanup, so as we got on stage the first thought on my mind was that we needed to be sure to get an awesome picture of the total for our website.  Then, as the numbers came up and the gym exploded I smiled, intellectually excited by the fact that we had reached our goal and happy to share it with everyone that had worked so hard to make that dream a reality.

However, as all that was happening, there was always a thought in the back of my mind “clean-up is next on the list, we have to do it”.  Dutifully, post chant, I decided to head up to the media room to get ready for clean-up; after all, clean up the media room was on the list, savoring the moment was not.

For the next few hours there was task after task in front of us, and by the time clean-up was finished at 10 I still hadn’t really taken the opportunity to reflect on what we had accomplished.  Even as we sat at Stuff Yer Face until midnight and we all recounted memories of the weekend, delirious from lack of sleep, I still didn’t have any sense of exactly what we had accomplished.  I mean, yeah we had crossed everything off our list and raised 442,000 dollars, but what did that really mean?

I finally got the answer to that question yesterday while I was working in  OFSA at 9:30 AM (not nearly late enough for a proper post-DM hibernation) to polish off the last of our photo uploads.  I had finally pushed the last of our photos up and got to work writing a blog post which would appear later when it suddenly hit me like a bolt of lightning.  We had raised 442,000 dollars over the weekend.

That number had floated through my head before but it didn’t really mean anything, much like time at DM it was sort of an ethereal notion which had meaning for others but was transient for me.  However, at that moment it suddenly became incredibly real.  I tried to focus on finishing the blog post like a good workaholic, but the number just kept coming into my brain, swatting away any attempts to focus on the task at hand.  Eventually I succumbed to its influence and got up to pace around the office, only able to repeat the number, $442,000 to myself over and over.

As I continued to pace around the office, I came to a second realization about something which had bothered me for the entire time I was working for RUDM.  Much like Marathon Weekend, everything I did was focused on the next step in a single-minded pursuit of changing how this position was viewed.  Smashing expectations on FTK day was met with concerns about how to follow that up by engaging them and covering it with the proper content.  Registering a record number of dancers was met with concerns over how to ensure they knew the deadlines for raising their minimums.  Even after having a record numbers of dancers reach their total I was mostly concerned with how to interact with them during Marathon Weekend.

As a result, even as I was doing what I set out to do, I didn’t appreciate what was happening.  I was so focused on taking the next step that I didn’t realize that my dreams were coming true right before my eyes.  I was creating content which, although constrained by resources and lack of experience, was innovative, creative, and most of all engaging to DMers.  Best of all, I was doing it surrounded by two of the most talented Captains I could have asked for, and a BOD/CPT filled with 30 passionate, friendly, and caring individuals Rutgers had to offer.  Sadly, it wasn’t until two days after The Marathon, as we were having our annual post-DM lunch and read the paper that I realized this.

So, I’d like to end this rather lengthy blog post with two thank yous.  First, to everyone who we interacted with us on social media this year, thank you.  Whether you read a blog, liked a photo, retweeted a tweet, or shared a Facebook status, thank you.  As I said before, this year I set out to change the way we communicated with the outside world through social channels.  By getting involved in that communication, you have helped us to do just that in a way that I could not have imagined when Danielle Bechta called me to offer me this position 340 days ago.

Secondly, to the staff of DM2012, thank you.  Specifically, to my two amazing Captains, Paige and Sachet, thank you for working so hard during Marathon Weekend that you set obnoxiously high standards for how DM2013 should be interact with students and be covered.

Lastly, the 2012 BOD/CPT, thank you for turning in a near-perfect 32 hours.  I was listening to the radio the whole time and the biggest problems we had were not having enough eggs and a couple of our performers going on late.  Compared to previous years, I’d call that the closest thing to perfection that anyone has ever achieved for 32 hours in the CAG.  Moreover, thank you for being so willing to embrace me as not just your co-worker, but also your friend.  My one regret from this year is that I viewed Dance Marathon as a job and attacked it in the same way.  I only wish that I had taken more time to get to know all of you on a personal level.

Alright, that’s all for now.  I have some ideas for more content that we can create, but for once, I’m simply going to let them slide.  I have thrown my heart and soul into making this Marathon a success from day 1, and I think it’s time for a little bit of a well deserved break.  I’ll think about the future in a few days, for now, I’m going to enjoy spending time with my friends at the Rutgers Zone tonight.

PS: Shout out to Todd Messer’s mom, who apparently has been reading the blog since day 1 and is a big fan.  Thanks for reading!


Make Check-In Quick and Easy For Yourself

March 29, 2012
In an effort to speed up the registration process for DM 2012 and make life easier for dancers this year we’ve changed the process of signing waivers to make it entirely online.  If you want to make your DM 2012 registration a bit quicker just follow directions below and you’ll be done in no time.
In order to participate I need you all to fill out a waiver form.  In order to do fill it out, please follow these directions:
  1. Go to:  http://embracekids.donordrive.com/event/rudm2012
  2. Log in to your Donor Drive account in the left column
  3. Find “Rutgers University Dance Marathon” event date: 3/31/2012 
  4. Click on “View/Download Resources”
  5. Click on “Participation Waiver 2012”
  6. Open the document and click on the link given
  7. Fill out the survey
Thank you

10 Tips For Having A Successful DM2012

March 28, 2012

With only 3 days until DM 2012 kicks off, many of you who are dancing for the first time may be wondering how the heck you’re going to get through 32 hours of non-stop dancing.  Our VM team has already hit on this a little bit with their awesome video series (which you can find on our Youtube channel here).  However, if you’re not a fan of Youtube watching or still just want some extra tips we’ve got you covered.  We polled a whole bunch of our previous DMers and got a list of top 10 tips which will help you have an awesome Marathon Weekend.

  1. Eat the food, all of it.  Whether you’re hungry or not, when meal time comes head on over to the catering line and pick up whatever is available.  Staying up for 32 hours is tough even when you’re full.  Skipping meals just saps your body of much needed energy.  Our sponsors have been generous enough to donate food by the truck load, so eat it, it’s free!
  2. Hydrate, even when you don’t think you have to.  This one goes hand-in hand with number one, but make sure to drink water.  We’ll have coolers on the Snack Island (near the annex entrance) which will be constantly filled with water, so grab a cup of water whenever you pass by.
  3. Don’t forget to bring a change of clothes, especially socks and shoes.  If you’re going to be up for 32 hours you’re probably going to want to change your clothes at least once.  The especially goes for socks, for which you’ll probably want two spare pair, and shoes, for which you might want one just for a change of pace.
  4. Stay up on your personal hygiene.  Remember to pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, your favorite face wash, and anything else that is part of your morning routine.  Not only will it make your fellow dancers more inclined to talk to you, it will also give you an extra boost from the fresh feeling of being clean.
  5. Get to bed early and sleep well during the week.  Staying up for 32 hours is never the easiest thing, but making sure to catch plenty of ZZZ’s in the week leading up to The Marathon will ensure that you have more energy to carry you through the DM 2012.  Getting to bed early will also give the added benefit of setting your internal clock such that waking up Saturday morning a breeze.
  6. Entertain yourself.  Whether dressing up for theme hours is your thing or you’re more of a video game player, there is almost assuredly something at DM 2012 to keep you entertained.  Just pacing around the gym for 32 hours will likely make your marathon feel awfully long.  However, jumping in on some entertainment will make the time fly by.
  7. Try something new.  Whether it’s making new friends, learning to salsa dance, or watching the Final Four on one of our iMacs don’t be afraid to try something just because it is there.  Chances are if you embrace the moment you’ll find yourself enjoying whatever it is.
  8. Have your friends and family visit you.  This is a big one; the only time visiting is restricted is from 9:00 PM, when we start selling wristbands to Club DM, to 3:00 AM Sunday, when club DM closes.  Any time other than this your family and friends can come in and bring you food, drinks, entertainment, anything you need really.  Most of all though, you’ll find that the biggest benefit of having visitors is the energy you get from getting a hug from a familiar face.
  9. Ditch the early morning caffeine on Saturday.  Yes, I know that getting up at 7:00 in the morning on a Saturday is not what you envisioned when you first came to college, but don’t rush to ABP to grab your early morning coffee.  The caffeine may be good when you first get up, but it will set you up for a dangerous crash before DM 2012 hits its midpoint.
  10. When the going gets tough, don’t forget why you’re there.  Speaking as someone who has danced before, there are going to be times when Marathon Weekend is going to get hard;  maybe you’ll get extra sleepy at 5 AM, or perhaps your feet will start hurting around hour 28.  At these moments don’t forget that regardless of the group you’re registered with, your dancing is helping to change the lives of families who  need it  the most.

That’s that.  If you’re on twitter this weekend feel free to tweet at us with #RUDM2012 or just a plain old @RUDanceMarathon.  See you at The Marathon!



One Fashion Show Down, One To Go.

February 26, 2012

Rutgers on The Runway has come and gone, and it was unsurprisingly pretty awesome, as anyone who attended will be able to tell you.  Unfortunately the event was not quite as well attended as last year, which means we didn’t raise quite as much money, which is a touch disappointing.  On the bright side, registration closed about a week ago today.  When the final numbers came in we had more registered Dancers than last year and a ton of Volunteers.  It’s especially awesome because it continues a trend of DM increasing its reach which started with RU4Kids.

Now that both that and Rutgers On The Runway are over, Phi Sigma Sigma has decided that they are going to one up us with their own fashion show, this time with significantly more adorableness and awesomeness.  How are they upping the adorable factor?  By including families from the Embrace Kids and the Ru4Kids program in their show.  The show will be happening in the Busch Multipurpose room next Sunday at 3:30.  Tickets are only $7 at the door and $5 dollars in advance, so be sure to check it out whether you’re a fan of fashion shows or just like supporting Embrace Kids in more ways than one.

The other event going on is a cool piece of unique fundraising by team DRCisFTK.  The women of DRC talked to a skating rink in Monmouth Junction, Proskate, and got Proskate to donate 50% of the profits from one night of ice skating to Dance Marathon.  That night is this Saturday, March 3rd.  Monmouth Junction isn’t quite as close as the Busch Multipurpose room, but if you purchase tickets in advance they can be used any time throughout the year.

If you’re interested in picking up tickets they can be purchased in advance at the Office Of New Student Recruitment on Douglass or March 3rd.  Alternatively you can pick up tickets at the skating rink, located at 1000 Cornwall Rd.

Oh, and as one last administrative note, Captain totals are due on Monday, February 27th.  Make sure you have your minimum raised by then or our VM and Finance team will be sad pandas, and they don’t get nice when they’re sad pandas.


Showing Off Rutgers Gear FTK

February 12, 2012

One of the best parts about this position is that you get to be exposed to parts of Rutgers that otherwise you would have never seen solely because they are doing something DM-related.  Case and point: a couple days back Mark Inverso sent out an email saying that Rutgers On The Runway was looking for male models.  Flash forward one interview later to yesterday and it looks like all my years of watching America’s Next Top Model reruns on VH1 will be paying off, as I’ll be taking part in the event this year

If you haven’t  heard of Rutgers On The Runway before, it’s very much what it sounds like: a chance to see a bunch of fellow Rutgers students doing their best Tyra Banks and Tyson Bedford impressions for charity.  The best part of the whole event? Well, besides getting to see your friends in a completely new light, the whole thing goes to benefit Dance Marathon and Embrace Kids.  That’s a double win if I have ever seen one right there.

We have our “fittings” today, and to be frank I’m not really sure what to expect.  My guess is I’ll blog about it a little bit more in the future, just because it will be a unique experience all around.  On the off-chance that I don’t though, you should probably come out to the event on Feburary 23rd at the LSC.


50 Days?!?! That’s Like, Half of 100!

February 9, 2012

For some reason 50 days to go until DM isn’t really fazing me that much.  I mean, with everything that has gone on before, you’d think that the fact that we’re now so close to the big weekend would mean that I need to be on anxiety meds, but that strangely isn’t the case.

My guess is that I’m probably so darn busy with everything else going on that I barely have time to think about the number.  Today we put out our theme reveal video, which in and of itself probably would have been a big undertaking.  Heck, just to get it out on time required back-to-back nights of long hours in the computer lab, which is to say nothing of the prep time that went into that.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much time to catch a break after all that work, as we’re also way behind schedule on making our posters for Spirit Week as well.  Luckily I was able to enlist the help of superstar artist, Director of Entertainment, and all around awesome person Youna Cho to help me out with making them.  The template is also super easy to match thanks to Teresa making it non-artist friendly, so we should be able to bang them out quickly.

Once that’s done we finally get to experience Spirit Week.  Although it’s a little bit of work for us, the fact remains that the events are meant to be mostly fun.  We’ll be there documenting the goings on, but I’m hoping to steal a few games at the arcade.

Our Nick At ‘Nite event also conveniently coincides with Striking out Cancer, an awesome event that the Panhellenic council puts on every year.  I was lucky enough to not only get invited to photograph the event and I’m more than a little excited.  We’ve spent so much time in our own little bubble of planning events for others that stepping outside and seeing the events others plan for Embrace Kids will be a welcome change of pace.

Oh, and final double awesome news.  One, we got Verizon to sponsor us for this year’s Marathon, which is AWESOME, because it means we’re getting to raise more money for Embrace Kids.  You’ll notice their logo at the bottom of our website, adding just a little pop of white amongst the sea of red.

Secondly, I raised my total, wooo!  I’ll officially be able to participate in DM 2012 as an Assistant Director.  I’d say that calls for a well earned nap, but I have posters to make, so I guess that sorta precludes sleeping at the moment.


50 Days until DM 2012