Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The Big Event is just around the corner and with that comes a lot of memories for me and questions for dancers who have not experienced the Big Event yet. The last Big Event hosted by UIDM took place in February of 2020. Before COVID, this event took over the Iowa Memorial Union, and I was lucky enough to have been a freshman during the BE 26. A common question circulating this year has been about how to stay busy for twenty-four hours? The planning that goes into this begins before summer even starts and continues through the 24-hour event. I have had so many memories stick out to me from my first event that will hopefully ignite excitement for others in this coming week.

When the event starts, energy is UP! The families enter through the dancers, allowing for the celebration of them and the dancers. This part really put into perspective where all our hard work, energy, and support were going to: these kiddos and their families. There are so many events that happen on the Main Stage that leave people excited, but past that, there are so many things going on all around the IMU. One of the highlights is silent disco. This was a place where a lot of kiddos liked going, so aside from dancing with friends, I could also interact with kiddos. The energy of being around the families really keeps your mind off the standing or tiredness I may have felt. Another exciting memory was short hair don’t care, although I didn’t chop my hair at my first Big Event, it pushed me to donate 10 inches of my hair the following year!

A few other key moments that stuck out to me the first time around was kiddo graduation and power hour. Kiddo graduation celebrates those who are 5 years cancer free and power hour is the final hour of the event before closing ceremonies where we celebrate all the hard work and DANCE like our legs aren not tired whatsoever! There are so many new things happening this year that I cannot wait to experience!

- Riley Monteil