Students at Cornell, SU raise more than $165,000 dancing for Upstate Golisano - and there's more support on the way

Students at Cornell, SU raise more than $165,000 dancing for Upstate Golisano - and there's more support on the way

SYRACUSE, N.Y.-- Dancing the night away--or day. It makes no difference when you dance as two area colleges are dancing for dollars for Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. Cornell and Syracuse universities both will have held dance marathons to raise money for the children’s hospital within a month of each other.

Cornell raised $40,469.86 at its Nov. 7 dance marathon and additional support continues to come in. SU will hold its second dance marathon, OttoTHON, this Saturday, Dec. 5, from noon to midnight. This is the second dance marathon held by SU to raise money for the children’s hospital. The first, which was held Feb. 28, raised more than $84,000 .

Both dance marathons are supported nationally by the Children’s Miracle Network and locally by the Upstate Foundation.

“We’re delighted by the support from Syracuse and Cornell,” said Lorie Riedl of the Upstate Foundation. “The altruistic spirit of these students makes a difference in the lives of our youngest patients--and that is very meaningful to these students.”

Cornell billed its event as the Big Red THON, drawing on the Ivy League university’s sports team nickname. More than 600 participated in the no-sleeping, no-sitting event that was noted as a celebration of children and families treated by the children’s hospital. In addition to dancing, students were treated to performances by campus dance and vocal groups. Campus support for the Big Red THON came from Phi Mu and Phi Delta Epsilon.

Plans are already under way for next year, said Alexandra Hill ’16 executive and founding director of the Big Red THON. “The average first year dance marathon raises $18,000 and we more than doubled that, which is amazing. However, we know that in 2016, Big Red THON will make even more miracles happen for the kids of Upstate New York.”

Syracuse University’s second OttoTHON puts on its dancing shoes Saturday for 12 hours at the Schine Student Center. More than 500 are expected to participant in the non-stop dancing. SU organizers hope this year’s event will be even more successful than the one held earlier this year.

That event, organizers say, raised more money than any other first-year dance marathon in the Northeast, had the most registered participants for a first-year dance marathon and became the largest philanthropy at Syracuse University. It also earned the Syracuse University’s Chancellor’s Award for Public Engagement, and the Outstanding Philanthropy Programming and Scholarship, which is given each year to Syracuse University students and groups whose work in partnership with organizations and citizens exemplifies meaningful and sustained engagement.

Early on in the planning for OttoTHON, the SU students worked closely with Upstate Foundation staff, visiting the hospital to get a better understanding of life inside a children’s hospital and the special needs of its parents. Visits to the multi-sensory room and with child life staff gave the students an up close look and enhanced their understanding of the inner workings of a children’s hospital.

“It is very important to give these students a solid understanding of what they are dancing for and how their support helps local children and families,” Riedl said. “We are so grateful for all their support.”

Caption: Participants in Cornell University’s Big Red THON highlight the amount raised during the dance marathon $40,469.86. Additional dollars have been added to that total since.

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