Terp Thon sets its sights on a new goal

By Dayna Gillespie
For Unwind magazine

The University of Maryland’s dance marathon disclosed its hefty goal – $800,000 – on Wednesday through a Facebook announcement.

The video featured members of Terp Thon’s planning team, along with Miracle Kids – children treated by Children’s National – daring the university community to dance on March 5.

“Last year we raised $604,000,” Terp Thon’s fiscal director Kimberly Heller said. “We passed our fundraising goal and it was the best feeling in the world.”

Terp Thon’s planning team works year round to raise awareness and funds for the Children’s Miracle Network; the money raised by the dance marathon benefits Children’s National hospital.

“I really think Terp Thon is great because it let’s you have fun while still doing something that is going to benefit a good cause,” senior criminology and criminal justice major Jordan Brunson said.

Photo courtesy of Terp Thon

Photo courtesy of Terp Thon

The event, a 12-hour dance marathon, allows participants to interact with the Miracle Kids and their families. They perform singing and gymnastics routines between music as a way to pump up morale and boost the energy of the event. The event ends with the executive team holding up the final tally of the funds raised over the year.

“Seeing first hand all of the work that you put in, how it all pays off and how happy the kids are makes all of it worth it,” Heller said.

Terp Thon’s planning team works on events throughout the year to help hit their goal, including a 2.1-mile color run on the campus in September. Freshmen were especially encouraged to attend in order to learn more about Terp Thon and get involved.

One of Terp Thon's Miracle Kids, Micah, 5, at Terp Thon in 2014. Photo courtesy of Terp Thon

One of Terp Thon’s Miracle Kids, Micah, 5, at Terp Thon in 2014. Photo courtesy of Terp Thon

Other social media strategies, including a matching campaign that launched on Thursday, help recruit students on the campus.

“We put our name out there for social media and communications purposes,” Terp Thon’s external director Azita Nejaddehghan. “Our job is to spread the word and make it known who we are.”

The Zero to Sixty campaign offered to match up to $60 for every participant until $4,000 was reached. Within three hours, the campaign reached its limit but money continued flooding into Donor Drive. As of Thursday night, Terp Thon has raised more than $53,000.

“We want to hit [our goal] because that’s when we feel like we [have] done everything we can for the kids,” Nejaddehghan said.

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