Participants in BuckeyeThon 2013 at the Ohio Union. Credit: Ryan Robey / For The Lantern

Participants in BuckeyeThon 2013 at the Ohio Union.
Credit: Lantern file photo

BuckeyeThon is setting the stage for its first $1 million campaign.

The 14th annual 24-hour dance marathon at Ohio State, which raises money for Nationwide Children’s Hospital, raised more than $767,000 in the spring when more than 3,000 people participated. It’s raised a total of $2.5 million over the past 13 years.

This year, it wants to recruit 4,000 student participants and encourage them to pledge $250 each, adding up to $1 million. The minimum amount students must fundraise to partake, however, is the same, at $100, BuckeyeThon spokeswoman Poornima Venigalla said.

The average dancer last year raised $250, BuckeyeThon vice president of advancement Vick Chhabria said.

Venigalla said while the fundraiser typically aims for about 20 percent growth each year — translating into what would’ve been a goal of more than $920,000 this year — the organizers decided to set their ambitions higher.

“Everything just kind of fell into place for us this year,” Venigalla, a fourth-year in biomedical science, said. “We were like, why would we not do ($1 million) this year?”

She said, though, there were initial hesitations.

“We did debate for a while,” Venigalla said. “It is a big jump compared to last year’s jump,” which raised about $159,000 more than the previous year.

But after becoming registered through Student Life last year, Venigalla said the resources, support and other partnerships were in place to go for the big bucks.

The only major change this year is that dancers will be offered more opportunities and initiatives, and overall more help, to fundraise, she said. “It is difficult to fundraise. We completely agree,” she said, adding the initiatives should provide the support they would need.

If BuckeyeThon reaches its goal, OSU wouldn’t be the first school to hit $1 million raised through a dance marathon. Penn State’s Thon raised more than $13.34 million this year.

BuckeyeThon specifically sponsors children being treated in the Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant Department at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, according to its website.

The marathon is set to be held Feb. 6-7 at the Ohio Union this year and will include two 12-hour dancing shifts. The kickoff event for the fundraiser, CarnOval, is scheduled for Friday on the South Oval from 4-8 p.m. Wristbands can be purchased for $7 at the Ohio Union’s information desk. The wristbands include access to rides and games, as well as some food items.