We stand for those who can't

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Auburn University Dance Marathon raised $65,995.25 last year for the Children's Miracle Network Hospital in Columbus, Ga. This year, the event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Feb. 2, in the Student Center.

The staff expects a bigger turnout this year and they have made some changes in the way the event will be run.

"Because we have so many people coming, our turnout doubled from last year," said Casey Stein, president of AUDM. "We've had to expand from beyond the ballroom to include the entire Student Center."

Now the event will take place in different rooms throughout the Student Center so dancers can move up and down the levels with different entertainment throughout the rooms.

The AUDM staff has been working hard to spread the word about this upcoming event.

"We have everyone on staff change their profile picture or cover photo on Facebook so we spread awareness that way," said Will McCann, vice president of operations.

The AUDM staff got creative when it came to advertising their event. The Morale captains are part of the staff who lead the different color groups at the event and encourage people to keep standing and dancing at the event.

"Morale does just crazy weird things on campus like running around in outfits and stuff just to get people talking," Stein said.

When members of Morale were interviewed for the job they were told to dress up in a costume that showed their strengths and why they should be chosen.

"We had a lot of Buzz Lightyears and Captain Americas," Stein said. "We had a Green Lantern who insisted we turn off the lights before she came in and ran into the room glowing; it was kind of funny."

The 12-hour event is broken up into different segments. After the introduction there will be some two-hour segments with different themes that include beach bash, holiday hour, CMT vs. MTV, tacky prom and YouTube hour.

"Some of our entertainment coming this year includes Zumba, AU singers and AU Rhythm. Tim Tyler is also coming to perform and a couple other local bands," Stein said. "We'll do mini kid talent shows."

One of the rooms will be available for dancers to play with kids from the Children's Miracle Network Hospital.

The staff has planned new entertainment for this year where they will try to break a world record. "It's the most people to carry a Furby at one time so we are going to try to pass that around and that's going to happen right around halfway through the event," Stein said.

The last hour will be the closing which includes a rave, a speaker and the final total will be revealed so dancers can see how their commitment made a difference.

"You work all year and it's a lot of time and effort on your part, but when the event time comes around you get to see the total raised at the very end," McCann said. "It's kind of a surreal feeling because you get to see the embodiment of everything that you've done all come together in one moment and all the emotions of the entire year kind of hit you at the same time."

All the directors and assistant directors have a personal goal of raising $1,000.

"My personal goal is $1,000 which I'm so happy that I have reached and surpassed," said Sarah Kelly, director of dancer involvement.

Some of the kids from the hospital will be there with their families speaking, performing and watching.

"They range anywhere from a 21-year-old boy who actually goes to Auburn to two twin boys who are five and they are doing karate at the event," Stein said.

The money raised for the hospital is used to buy medical equipment, specifically incubators.

"Usually we like to say we aren't about the total or the goal even though it's kind of the driving force because we want to make the biggest difference and that's through the money," Stein said. "Last year we were able to purchase one incubator for them and so I guess this year naturally our goal is two."

The staff has high hopes that everyone will stay for the whole event.

"We do our best to encourage people to stay the entire time, that's really the whole essence of the event is giving up your free time and you're standing and you're participating for the support of kids who don't have the same opportunity as you so the whole standing and being there for the entire time really embodies the entire spirit of the event," McCann said.

McCann and Stein hope to have at least 450 people attend, but both expect there to be more.

"It's not a 12-hour dance or a 12-hour marathon, it's giving up one day of your life to make a life time of difference for these kids," Stein said. "Working so hard to throw a 12-hour party for a bunch of sick kids who usually spend their day in the hospital is so rewarding in and of itself."

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