Emily Tara / Oller reporter
The BuckeyeThon annual dance marathon will be expanded to two, 12-hour shifts for the first time next month to accommodate increased student interest and participation.
BuckeyeThon is an Ohio State student philanthropy event that raises money for Nationwide Children’s Hospital Hematology and Oncology Department. The 12-hour dance marathon that took place last March raised more than $450,000 for the cause, the most in the history of the event. However, because of its growing popularity, some changes are in store for 2013 participants.
Suraj Hinduja, a third-year in special education and president of BuckeyeThon, said last year event attendance had been nearing capacity in the Ohio Union venue, which pushed the limits of comfort for some people. The choice was made to create two separate shifts as a way to increase the number of students who could participate in this year’s event, which is scheduled to take place from Feb. 8 – 9.
“It also allows for more students to have that impact of philanthropy upon their lives and when you connect them to the cause that is pediatric cancer at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, you’re fundraising more and there’s a greater impact that you’re going to have for the kids,” Hinduja said.
More than 3,400 students have registered for the event, and Hiduja said 1,400 to 1,500 dancers are likely to participate in each shift. Teams are expected to split half of their dancers into each shift to be represented throughout the event.
The first shift will run from 8 p.m. on Feb. 8 to 8 a.m. on Feb. 9, and the second shift is expected to start at 11 a.m. on Feb. 9 until 11 p.m. when the final closing ceremony is scheduled.
With members only being required to participate in one of the shifts, Hiduja said those planning the event are trying to ensure the shifts are as similar as possible so that participants get the same experience regardless of which shift they attend.
“Our dance director and her 10 committee members have been working tirelessly throughout this entire year to make sure that each shift, each part of the event, is special and that it means something,” Hinduja said.
BuckeyeThon director and fourth-year in psychology Sarah Lautenbach said while she does not anticipate any major issues to develop from expanding the event hours, adjustments will have to be made to ensure that the activities scheduled during the day shift won’t intrude on those in the Ohio Union.
There is also a priority to ensure that BuckeyeThon members are taken care of during the 24-hour time period, specifically with sufficient food available and required breaks, Hinduja said.
One of the most prominent concerns, Lautenbach said, was simply ensuring that the growing number of students interested in participating have the opportunity to do so.
“We’re just getting so big on campus and so many students just wanted to help out and fight pediatric cancer that we wanted to make sure that all of (the) students could make their own stand,” Lautenbach said.
Rachel Brown, a third-year in strategic communication, will be participating in BuckeyeThon for the second time and said she was in favor of creating two separate shifts.
“I think it’s a great impact for what’s happening,” Brown said. “The fact that there are so many students wanting to sign up that they have to make it two separate shifts. I think it just goes to show that each year more and more people are wanting to do it because it’s making a bigger impact on campus.”
Brown said although she is scheduled for the overnight shift this year, she plans to return at the end when the amount of money raised is revealed.
Corey Spindler, a third-year in finance, said he has attended the dance marathon every year while attending OSU and plans to continue that tradition this February. Spindler said he wasn’t initially enthusiastic about the idea of splitting the dance marathon into shifts.
“Originally I was a little unsure of how it was going to work because it was always cool to have everyone there at one time overnight with the reveal in the morning,” Spindler said. “But after realizing all of the potential it could bring with basically around double the amount of people that could participate in the event, I got really excited, and I think it’s going to do wonders for BuckeyeThon.”