Students on campus Monday, Oct. 5 might have been surprised to see the form of a giant baby taking up the Green Space. The inflatable infant was the work of Auburn University Dance Marathon, which is ramping up its recruitment numbers despite how COVID has affected the University.
Monday’s recruitment event aimed to promote its mission of fundraising “For The Kids” in support of children’s health. AUDM will be supporting Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital in Columbus, Georgia, during its dance event next semester. The return of the baby revives a tradition from 2014, when it last appeared on campus to bolster student interest in AUDM.
“We wanted to come back with something bigger than Auburn, bigger than us, something bigger than our local kids,” said Raj Patel, graduate student in osteopathic medicine and event planner for AUDM. “We really didn’t tell anybody; we wanted people to be like, ‘What’s that on the Green [Space]?’”
Jonathan Cuff, senior in finance and president of AUDM, said he hopes this year’s fundraising efforts can provide considerable support to the overworked hospital impacted by the coronavirus.
“We’re just here kind of engaging with our participants and staff members ... [promoting] awareness for children’s health, especially during the times of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cuff said. “Our hospitals have been kinda impacted as well.”
Cuff said AUDM broke its records during its initial recruitment push last week. According to Cuff, 715 students signed on to participate in this year’s main fundraising event, which is currently scheduled for Feb. 13, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the Student Activities Center.
“We’re taking baby steps at a time,” Patel said of AUDM’s event planning process this year.
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Like many other organizations, AUDM has taken up some virtual events for the first time ever to boost its recruitment. The first of these was a trivia night held in the second week of the fall semester, Cuff said.
“We had about 100 students attend that,” he said. “It was a lot of fun. Weoffered a couple prizes and also informed them about who we are.”
Through the event, AUDM was also able to double its staff size by bringing in new committee members who are settling into their new positions since being welcomed in two weeks ago, Cuff said.
“We knew this [semester] would have a lot of challenge and adversity, but our staff is taking it by storm,” he said. “We’ve had no issues so far; everything’s looking great.”
In continuing its support of children’s health, AUDM will be hosting a virtual meet-and-greet event on Nov. 1 targeting parents with young children.
Those interested in getting involved with this year’s marathon to participate in upcoming events or to become a staff member, sponsor or dancer may contact Cuff.
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