Kent State students groove for good cause

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Students dance at the Kent Interhall Council’s second annual Rock Til You Drop in the Student Center Ballroom Wednesday night. Rock Til You Drop is a dance marathon to help raise money for cystic fibrosis research. Photo by Coty Giannelli.

Bobby Batyko

The “Rock ‘Till You Drop” dance marathon got its groove on Wednesday evening in the Student Center Ballroom.

Kent Interhall Council created the event as a fundraiser to promote awareness of cystic fibrosis. Dancers were encouraged to “Shoot for the Stars” in keeping with the theme of the event. Stars and balloons throughout the ballroom provided atmosphere for the participants as they danced for a good cause.

The event began as a way to honor Samantha Lehman, one of Hall Council’s most active members, who passed away from cystic fibrosis in February. Samantha’s mother, Leslie Lehman, was one of three judges at the event.

A slideshow center stage showed information about the disease throughout the night.

“Cystic fibrosis is one of the largest undiagnosed killers of children, and nobody knows about it,” Lehman said.

Joel John, senior nutrition and food major, said the event was designed to prove “fundraising is fun.”

“It’s fun and educational but also reaps the benefits of being a fundraiser,” John said.

John said the fundraising goal was higher than last year.

“Our goal is to raise $500 tonight,” he said. “We got a $100 donation already this morning.”

Donations for the event went directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Lehman said.

“One-hundred percent of every dollar goes directly to the foundation,” she said. “Ninety percent of every dollar goes straight to programs and research at the foundation.”

Registration for the competition ended promptly at 6:30 p.m. John gave a short speech thanking everyone for coming before the event began. “This event is very important to Katie and myself,” he said. “Who is ready to start dancing and not stop until 11? Let’s go!”

John said he hoped for around 200 people to attend the event. Although the initial crowd was small at around 30 people, it quickly swelled to at least 50 dancers after half an hour and remained steady.

Samantha Weiss, freshman speech pathology major, said she found out about the event thanks to cards distributed in her residence hall.

“I’ve learned a little bit so far. I want to learn about a good cause,” she said.

Alexandra Leadbetter, freshmen biology major, said she found out about the event through her job with Interhall Council. “I just want to have fun and learn about the cause,” she said.

Competition rounds started at 7 p.m. with participants dancing different styles each round in order to remain in the contest for a Kindle Fire. Fourteen elimination rounds took place throughout the night, featuring dances to songs like “Mambo No. 5” by Lou Bega. Fun was the emphasis though, as the “competition” soon turned into a train of dancers following each other across the floor.

Roman Waked, freshmen exploratory major, said he didn’t think he’d last long.

“I’m not much of a dancer,” he said “Hopefully they raise money and awareness. It will be a cool event for that.”

Sam Schaefer, sophomore geography major, said he felt good about his chances of winning the grand prize.

“I could go all night,” he said. “I’m just here to have fun.”

Contact Bobby Batyko at [email protected].