#FTK, For The Kids, is a popular hashtag that is often taken out of context and used in a jokingly ironic way. However, at Butler #FTK is taken very seriously. We do care about the people we are serving in our community. One of the ways we show this is by hosting our annual Butler University Dance Marathon.
Dance Marathon is a multi-hour, multi-faceted event that blends dancing, games, crafts, food, and fun into one philanthropic experience. Students are on their feet the entire duration of the marathon as they stand for the kids at Riley. Funds for Dance Marathons are raised in a variety of ways. The main way funds are raised for Dance Marathons is through personal donations from friends, family, and the community either online or offline.
My friend Phil Faso, a sophomore at Butler, says he thoroughly enjoyed participating for his first time this year. “It personally impacted my life because I’ve done similar things before but not to such a great extent and it was very heartwarming.” Phil said. “It’s for an amazing cause and everyone should be aware of what we can do to help other people in need.”
Butler University Dance Marathon, or BUDM, is sponsored by Butler’s SGA. Their mission statement is “to engage the students of Butler University in striving to improve the quality of life for the children and families of Riley Hospital for Children.” This student-led organization works throughout the school year and summer to raise money to support cancer research performed at the hospital. Our money also helps the hospital continue its tradition of treating all patients, regardless of financial concerns.
Holding this organization close to her heart and platform, Annie Foster is a junior chemistry and Spanish double major, and has worked with BUDM since her first year on campus. “As soon as I joined, I knew this organization was about something bigger than I could ever imagine,” Annie said. “Supporting this organization means joining a movement to give hope back to the kids.” She started as a morale committee member during her first year. Her sophomore and junior years she worked on the executive board as Director of Fundraising. She will close her time at Butler as the Vice President of Finance. All students have the opportunity to be on the executive board by attending call out meetings, being actively annually, and showing commitment to the cause.
“From the start I knew I wanted to join the executive board and make a difference in this organization. BUDM has given my college experience meaning,” Annie said. “Being on a college campus comes with feeling of being in a bubble, secluded from the world around you. Getting involved in BUDM brings you out of that bubble and into the real world. It provides a new perspective, it teaches you about the power of hope, and it allows you to become apart of something larger than yourself.”
Inspired by the ability to make a change, Taylor Murray is a senior pharmacy major and served on the executive board of BUDM this past year. He realized that his impact on a family in need superseded monetary support for the cause. “I saw the joy and hope, especially, that support and simply dancing can bring to a child, or families face regardless of the amount of money raised that year,” Taylor said. “That was something that truly made me want to continue my involvement with the organization and the cause as a whole.”
As co-director of the morale committee Taylor says that “this committee meshed my love for dancing, with that of wanting to bring happiness and energy to those who may need it most.”
“Prospective students may not have had a Dance Marathon at their high school, and/or did not even know it was happening/what it is when they step foot onto Butler’s Campus,” Taylor said. “From the outside, it may look like another organization at block party, but once you step out and begin to talk to those who have experienced it or been involved, one can realize it is more than an organization, it is a family.”
This year BUDM raised $301,576 for Riley Children’s Hospital and Butler celebrates being the second largest fundraising school in undergraduate schools with less than 12,000 students. Taylor tells his story and experience with BUDM by sharing how he has grown since his first year at Butler. He hopes that after he graduates he will be able to come back to people who have found their passions and act upon them to make their own Butler experiences special.
“From my experiences with BUDM, I have come to realize that I can be a leader, but a leader that doesn’t necessarily have to be the loudest or most successful in the room, but a leader who can lead by example and as one with the others,” Taylor said. “My advice to prospective students is if you do not know what you what in life, finding and driving toward your passion(s) will open up new avenues and opportunities you never would have thought existed.”