By Morgan Caplan
Terp Thon, a prominent University of Maryland student organization, is approaching the final push for its $1 million goal. This year, the Terp Thon Planning Team is inspired to surpass its original fundraising goals.
Last year, Terp Thon raised $728,453.16, which was $100,000 more than its previous dance marathon. In the eight years that the University of Maryland has hosted Terp Thon, the fundraising goals and the end proceeds have continued to grow, making this year’s $1 million goal Terp Thon’s biggest fundraising objective yet.
Although there are high stakes, Terp Thon’s Morale Team has been a huge catalyst in reaching their goal, and is a prominent face of Terp Thon. Known for their upbeat spirits and constant dancing, Morale Team brings the energy to every Terp Thon event.
“We get the people going!” said Hannah Gray, a senior community health major. “We make sure that everyone remains enthusiastic about the cause all year, and remind them of how much fun we have working for this cause.
Another role of the Morale Team is to positively emphasize Terp Thon’s bigger picture.
“We’re reminding them why we stand for 12 hours, and just how easy it really is. Morale’s job is to make sure when the dancers walk out of those doors after Terp Thon is over, that they are pumped to come back and do it again next year,” Gray, who is Morale Chair, said.
The main emphasis that keeps the dancers going, Gray explained, is the high energy. It has become the spirit of Terp Thon and resonates with each dancer before and after the marathon.
Individuals like Sydney Dazzo, a sophomore education major and a recruited dancer, understood the passion in the Armory building at last year’s Terp Thon. The event, Dazzo said, lived up to her expectations, and her experiences with the children made her realize the direct benefits that Terp Thon has made for Children’s National Health System.
The Terp Thon Planning Team has etched the maxim for this year’s dance marathon — “Bigger, Bolder, so the kids can be Stronger” — into its mindset. It has since continued with the 828 dancers who signed up after the large recruitment campaign in February. Now, over 2,500 dancers signed up and began raising over $60,000 in one day.
One aspect that ties the organization together, besides the shared passion to raise funds and awareness, is the slogan “Why we dance.” Each answer is unique, and for the planning team, it’s become the driving force in a significant portion of their donations.
“My driving force is my best friends: my three younger sisters,” said Allison Nadler, a sophomore criminology major on the Morale Committee. “I dance to be able to help kids with serious illness have opportunities to live normal and healthy lives, just like my sisters and I were fortunate enough to have.”
Dancers on the planning team also have personal reasons for dancing 12 hours at Terp Thon.
“I dance because no family should have to fight alone. I dance because every single cent raised helps make a family’s stay at the hospital a little more bearable,” said Kaiwei Suh, a senior public health major and Terp Thon Executive Director. “Being surrounded by an organization of passionate and caring individuals is an incredible feeling. The University of Maryland is helping save lives.”