Annual Dance Marathon Returns to IUPUI

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Jags, lace up your dancing shoes. It’s time to get your feet moving and do some good for your community.

The 16th annual Jagathon: Dance Marathon returns to IUPUI on Saturday, March 3 at noon and continues through Sunday, March 4 at 3 a.m. at the IUPUI Campus Center.

“Jagathon is the largest student run organization at IUPUI,” said Darian Benson, a member of the Jagathon Morale Committee. “It is a dance marathon for Children’s Miracle Hospitals.”

The money raised at Jagathon goes to Riley Hospital for Children for pediatric research and to help patients and their families with emotional and financial needs.

“We are a quick growing dance marathon,” said Catherine Baran, Chair of Tabling for the Recruitment Committee. “My first year of participating in Jagathon (2016) we raised $140,049.94. In 2017, we raised $341,430.22.”

According to the Jagathon website, the event has raised more than $760,000 dollars over the last fifteen years. More than half of that has been earned within the last two years, increasing with attendance of the event.

“1340 students are registered for Jagathon 2018,” said Jagathon President Ali Emswiller. “This is a record participant registration number for Jagathon. This is exciting because it demonstrates that so many IUPUI students are coming together for a meaningful cause much bigger than any one of us.”

Jagathon takes place over the course of 15 hours. Some participants may think that they have to dance for the entire time, but there are other activities and events that they can do.

“A huge misconception about Jagathon is that it is 15 hours of dancing,” Baran said. “While there is definitely dancing, we have lots of games and activities throughout the evening, three meals, and we listen to Riley kids and their families share their personal stories.”

Group shot from Jagathon 2017. (Photo by Liz Kaye)

“Halfway throughout the event, the IUPUI Division of Student Affairs has sponsored a ‘Run to Riley’ where all 1340 participants run from the IUPUI Campus Center to Riley Hospital for Children (just down the street), to see the hospital they are supporting,” Emswiller said.

“These kids are some of the strongest kids you will ever meet,” Benson said. “We honor them by giving up sitting for a little bit.”

Jagathon has a recurring acronym that appears during their fundraising events, on their apparel, and even on social media, “FTK”, which stands for “for the kids.”

“It’s a constant reminder of why we do what we do--the meetings, the fundraising, the dancing, the standing, etc.” said Baran. “It is our reminder that we are putting in the time and effort because it benefits the children treated at Riley Hospital for Children.”

Jagathon may host its main event during the first weekend of March, but the fundraising efforts occur throughout the course of the year.

“Jagathon hosts multiple events throughout the year, including Battleships, Mr. and Mrs. Jagathon Pageant, Dancing with the Stars, and Dine to Donates at restaurants around campus,” said Carter. “Our goal is to provide memorial events throughout the year that will keep the attention and interests of our dancers, sponsors, and committee members.”

If you missed the deadline for registration, be sure to look out for the other events that Jagathon hosts on campus.

If you’d like to participate in the 2019 Jagathon: Dance Marathon, registration for the event opens Wednesday, April 18th, 2018.


For more information or questions about Jagathon, visit


“You get to experience miracles happen multiple times throughout the event,” Carter said. “You leave our event knowing you made a difference, knowing you changed a life.”

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