KINGSTON, R.I. — March 19, 2019 — Last year, nearly 1,500 University of Rhode Island students participated in the first-of-its-kind, 8-hour dance marathon, dubbed “RhodyThon.” Having raised $147,000, RhodyThon broke a national record, becoming the largest first-year dance marathon in the history of events benefiting the Children’s Miracle Network. The Children’s Miracle Network is made up of 170 hospitals across the U.S. and Canada, including Rhode Island’s Hasbro Children’s Hospital.
This year, organizers are focused on far surpassing last year’s totals both in terms of participation and funds raised.
On Saturday, March 30, thousands of URI students will gather in the Mackal Field House, 75 Keaney Road, Kingston Campus, from 4 p.m. to midnight to dance the night away. Organizers have planned to sprinkle in zumba, basketball, volleyball, and other activities amidst the dancing, to keep the myriad of student groups in attendance entertained throughout the night.
However, Nicolette St. Amand, director of the External Committee of RhodyThon, stresses the event is more than just an all-night party. “RhodyThon is important because it is an outlet for our community to come together for a really good cause, and try to make a difference in families lives who need it the most,” she said.
So far, there are 64 registered teams, 563 registered fundraisers, and 1,477 total registered dancers. URI will be well represented, as teams that have signed up include every Greek Chapter on campus, several sports teams, residence halls, and student organizations.
Though she knows this year’s goal is ambitious, St. Amand believes it is possible. “I think last year being our first event we set our expectations a little bit low, but we ended up surpassing our goal by a substantial amount. ” she said. “In addition, RhodyThon has kind of been adopted as a part of the campus culture a little bit more so we raised our goal in the beginning of last semester. I think the board might be a little biased, but we are confident that with hard work and our participants really doing their part to fundraise we can easily reach our goal.”
This year, along with their impressive goal, the organizers of RhodyThon made another modification; the event will be starting and ending earlier this year, so that families who have benefited from Hasbro Children’s Hospital will have the opportunity to stay for more of the event.
In addition to the entertainment provided, students will be able to hear the heartfelt stories of several of those families. One hundred percent of the funds raised from RhodyThon will benefit the children’s hospital in Providence, which is known for never turning a sick child away, including those from families that can’t pay for treatment.
“The RhodyThon Executive Board has had the pleasure of meeting our miracle kids this year and I, personally, got to spend some time with them and their families, so I feel even closer to the cause,” said St. Amand. “The families deserve all of our efforts and so much more. I think anything that can bring a whole campus together is really special.”
Learn more about RhodyThon or make a donation here.
This story was written by Lauren Poirier, a sophomore English and Public Relations major and intern at the University’s Department of Marketing and Communications.