Dance Marathon 13
Sitting in the final DM13 meeting with Bill Nelson, Office of Student Life members (now Center for Student Involvement & Leadership), the ladies from Children's Miracle Network, and Keri Rolland, our business director, waiting to hear if we hit our $725,000 goal. When we realized we hadn't just hit it—we had blown past it by over $150,000—we were completely shocked. We cried, then we laughed, then we celebrated. David Grady, the associate vice president at the time, looked at me and said matter-of-factly, "Well, looks like you didn't set your goal high enough."
But what's even more mind-blowing is the conversation that followed while we sat in the office. The consensus among some in the room was the toteboard had most likely peaked. There was a multitude of reasons why it couldn't get much higher: our student population just wasn't big enough; we didn't have major industries in the Iowa City area that would contribute; Dance Marathon wouldn't be able to gain the brand recognition that organizations from large cities could obtain. The following day, we were are on the front page of Des Moines Register. Until that point, we had gotten small blurbs in some local newspapers and great articles in the Daily Iowan, but nothing in comparison to this. From this point, the concept of The University of Iowa Dance Marathon spread statewide in a way that none of us had imagined as we sat in the office.
DM13 was the first time the organization had been given an adviser who focused only on us, and we saw the benefits immediately. He encouraged us to not only continue to organize ourselves as a professional business, which is something our marketing director had pushed heavily the year before, but he also helped the organization focus on the sustainability and legacy. If we were to ever break the million dollar mark, each leadership team would need to focus on improving the organization for the teams to come. Little did we know, DM14 was already preparing to make history.