The sixth annual University of West Florida Dance Marathon raised $60,890.59 last weekend, exceeding this year’s goal of $55,000 and surpassing last year’s record of more than $43,000.
The annual event is held in support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for pediatric hospitals, medical research, and community awareness of children’s health issues. All proceeds from the 12-hour event at the UWF Commons Conference Center will be donated to the Studer Family Children’s Hospital, a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola.
“UWF Dance Marathon celebrated another successful donation drive,” said Dr. Joffery Gaymon, vice president for enrollment and student affairs. “I’m proud of our students who took part in the event and raised funds to benefit the children and families in the care of Studer Family Children’s Hospital.”
The Miracle Network Dance Marathon is held at more than 300 locations across the country. At UWF’s Dance Marathon, more than 500 students stood and danced on their feet to raise funds. Overall, 22 teams participated in the event.
Ashley Sepessy served as this year’s executive director for Dance Marathon. Sepessy, a junior majoring in hospitality, has been involved with Dance Marathon since she was a freshman.
“Seeing the UWF community come together to help the children was my favorite moment,” Sepessy said. “Standing for those who can’t while raising awareness and having fun when doing it is why I am here and never want to leave. This opportunity has meant so much more to me than just my college experience. It’s shown me that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Sepessy served as morale director on the Dance Marathon executive board last year. Jake Tomlin, graduate assistant for Fraternity and Sorority Life, was this year’s Dance Marathon advisor.
“Our students worked tirelessly to ensure that Dance Marathon was a success,” said Keaton West, assistant director of campus and community involvement and a member of staff senate. “I think the culture of Dance Marathon is really starting to catch on at UWF which is what we have been aiming for the past several years “The students have bought into this program, taken it on, and run with it. It’s really incredible to watch our students work hard for a cause that positively and directly impacts our local community.”
UWF fraternities and sororities, along with other student organizations, raised funds as teams. The “Miracle Ball” competition was split into three divisions based on the number of members in each organization. Kappa Delta Chi sorority won the Cannon Division (less than 30 members), Alpha Tau Omega fraternity won the Nautilus Division (30-75 members) and Alpha Delta Pi sorority won the Argonaut Division (more than 75 members). “Miracle Ball” competition winners raised the highest amount of money in their divisions and created the most awareness of the event through social media posts and spirit nights.