Dance Marathon at UCLA, commonly referred to as DM, is a 26-hour dance marathon that takes place annually in February on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles, with the purpose of raising money for pediatric AIDS. The first annual event took place in 2002 and, with only 180 dancers, raised more than $27,000. Today, it is the largest student-run philanthropy event on the West Coast, having raised nearly $1.4 million in its seven-year history. The money that is raised by dancers and committee members is donated primarily to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, as well as Camp Heartland and Project Kindle, two organizations devoted to supporting children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
Dance Marathon at UCLA seeks to build community and encourage unified action by bringing together our diverse student population through education, action, and support in the constant fight against pediatric AIDS.
In 2003, Whichcard, Chris Cheng, and Jenny Wood led DM to huge changes, including creating a theme and moving the event to the Covel Grand Horizon Room. Additional awareness events were held throughout the year, establishing DM as an organization rather than just an event. In its second year, over 225 dancers and a committee of 50 students raised over $53,000 for EGPAF. In 2004, events such as A Night for the Cure were established with other student groups to further educate the campus and spread the word about DM. Wood, Jason Chiu, and Mark Deppe lead the committee and over 300 dancers to raise over $110,000. The fourth annual Dance Marathon in 2005 brought the event to the much larger Ackerman Grand Ballroom, where it is currently located. With over 400 dancers and a growing committee of nearly 80 students, DM raised over $197,000 for EGPAF. The 2006 event reached even greater heights, with a theme that sought to develop greater awareness of the AIDS pandemic's impact on all regions of the world, keeping the focus more intimately on the cause despite the marathon's size of over 500 dancers and over 1,000 moralers and volunteers. Together, they raised over $268,000 for pediatric AIDS, demonstrating their dedication towards finding a cure and establishing a legacy of campus activism and student empowerment.
The 2007 event saw the addition of two new beneficiaries. Camp Heartland and Project Kindle each received 10% and EGPAF received 80% of the total $330,000 raised by over 665 dancers. The most recent event, taking place on February 16-17, 2008, saw 782 dancers and 99 committee members raise $384,507.80 for EGPAF, Heartland, and Kindle. This year, EGPAF received 75% and Heartland and Kindle each received 12.5% of all proceeds.
|2002|| Dan Garcia|
|2003||Emily Whichard||"The Real World"||225||$53,000|
|2004||Jenny Wood||"Stay Tuned for the Cure"||300||$110,000|
|2005||Jason Chiu||"Time to Take a Stand"||400||$197,000|
|2006||Kristin Richter||"DM World Tour - Destination: Cure"||500||$268,000|
|2007||Aviva Altmann||"School House Rock: Rock for the Kids, Rock for the Cure"||667||$330,000|
|2008||Billy Gellepis||"DMLA: Big City, Bigger Fight"||782||$385,000|
Dancer registration opens at the end of October of each year, and early dancer registration closes at the end of the last week in November. Both events are widely publicized on campus with a number of publicity stunts taking place on Bruinwalk and Bruin Plaza. The entire committee also fliers along UCLA's Bruinwalk every week leading up to the event, wearing their neon-bright highlighter T-shirts to get attention and gain publicity. Every year the closing date of early dancer registration is made to coincide with the observance of World AIDS Day. Dance Marathon also has a strong presence in the annual Blue and Gold Week Parade, which takes place before the UCLA-USC football game. Leading up to the event, the committee actively publicizes the event by hosting social nights at the Westwood Brewing Company, as well as holding events such as Bingo and Poker nights, designed to assist dancers in reaching their fundraising goals.
The general committee is composed of approximately 100 volunteers and is further divided into 18 subcommittees, each responsible for a specific task or role in the months leading up to the event. The sub-committee directors are selected during the spring after the previous year's event (i.e. the committee directors for the 2008 event were selected during the spring of 2007). This group has been given the nickname "steering" and they are responsible for overseeing the hiring process for the other general committee members. General committee members must fill out an application during the fall quarter before the event. Selected applicants are then interviewed before they are placed on the general committee. Throughout the year the general committee works under the guidance of their committee director/steering member.
In the past seven years, Dance Marathon has contributed over $1,000,000 to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the fight against pediatric AIDS. Since its inception in 1988, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation has played a crucial role in fighting the pediatric AIDS pandemic, funding research specifically aimed at preventing the mother-to-child transmission of AIDS. In addition to funding research, the foundation has broadened its scope beyond the national community by providing treatment, counseling, and information to the international community. These international programs focus on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV and provide anti-retroviral treatment for infected children and adults.
Camp Heartland, founded in 1993, is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children, youth and families facing HIV/AIDS. It is a summer camp program that accepts children from over 40 states both infected with AIDS and children who were affected by the disease. Set amidst 88 wooded acres in Northern Minnesota, the Camp Heartland Center is a haven with access to three lakes and several miles of wilderness trails. Heartland also operates camps in California and New York and has begun an international expansion.
Project Kindle, formerly known as Camp Kindle, has been providing cost free services to children, adolescents, and families since 1999. This nonprofit, which primarily serves those infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS, began with a weeklong summer camping session known as Camp Kindle. Over the last few years, we have expanded our services to offer multiple camping sessions in both Nebraska and California and year round support, a peer led speakers bureau, a continued education scholarship fund, and HIV/AIDS education and outreach. Project Kindle also offers an Enrichment Program designed to offer support and education both during camp and throughout the year.