November 29, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

UMass looks ahead to 2015, for better or for worse -

Friday, November 28, 2014

UMass football falls 41-21 in season finale against Buffalo -

Friday, November 28, 2014

Minutemen defense comes up short in 41-21 loss to Buffalo -

Friday, November 28, 2014

UMass formally cuts ties with alumnus Bill Cosby -

Friday, November 28, 2014

Stanley Andre reflects on his career as Senior Day approaches -

Thursday, November 27, 2014

UMass tight end Jean Sifrin mulls future, potential NFL career -

Thursday, November 27, 2014

UMass basketball trounces Northeastern 79-54 -

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Students and staff discuss racial and social inequality following Ferguson decision -

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

UMass hockey falls to Vermont, 3-1 -

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

No indictment for Ferguson cop -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Chancellor addresses campus regarding grand jury decision in death of Michael Brown -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Northern Illinois hangs on against Ohio, Hunt carries Toledo to victory -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

SGA passes 10 motions at meeting Monday night -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Students and UMPD work together during the annual ‘Walk for Light’ -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

‘Conscious Consumer’ talk promotes business sustainability -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UMass hockey looks to rebound against Vermont following Saturday’s blowout at home -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UMass women’s soccer’s Sverrisdóttir balances a soccer career between two different countries -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

‘First Demo’ provides a fascinating glimpse of Fugazi in its infancy -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My mental illness does define me (to an extent) -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How to master multitasking -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Lending a helping hand, one dance step at a time

Chris Shores/Collegian

The Student Union Ballroom – packed yesterday with dancing University of Massachusetts fraternity and sorority members – also served as the dance floor for Joey Coles, a young patient of Baystate Children’s Hospital in Springfield.

“He has dancing in his soul. This is his event,” said Michelle Graci, manager of fundraising events at Baystate Health Foundation. “He comes to all of our events, he hogs the stage and hogs the microphone and smiles and everyone loves him.”

As hip-hop music blared from loudspeakers, Coles led a conga line of sorority girls through the ballroom. He has been a regular attendee of the UMass UDance, a 10-hour dance-a-thon in its sixth year at the University. The fundraiser – sponsored by the Student Government Association, the Office of Fraternities and Sororities and ReadyU – raises money for the hospital through the Children’s Miracle Network.

Also in attendance was Austin Taylor, a Cummington native and sophomore at Wahconah Regional High School. Joining Austin for his first trip to the campus were his parents, Bob and Michelle, and his brother, Cameron.

Michelle Taylor said that both of her sons were born at Baystate and that Austin attends a muscular dystrophy clinic at the medical center. Through the clinic and other trips to Baystate, he became associated with the Children’s Miracle Network. Bob Taylor added that the family took part in a radio telethon with the network last year.

“I was really impressed there were so many fraternities and sororities that were actually raising money for them and participating,” Bob Taylor said.

For event organizers and steering committee co-chairs Rachel Northup and Hailey Wallace, the greatest aspect of the UDance event was getting to meet and dance with child patients. Northup noted that there were about 15 in attendance at yesterday’s dance-a-thon and they took part in a medal and red-carpet ceremony during the event.

“UDance is really about the kids and I love that I got to interact with them,” said Wallace. “I’ve known Joey for three years now; we’ve formed a relationship with these people and their families.”

Both Graci and her fellow manager of fundraising events, Jenna Gleason, said they were pleased with the students’ organization of UDance.

“It is an event that the students own, it’s incredible,” said Graci. “We’re just amazed and awed when we meet with them and they have these great ideas. The enthusiasm and the love that’s pouring out of them for the kids is so inspiring.”

Adele Jean, a member of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority, said she was also pleased with the event’s success.

“All of our organizations are founded on getting together to do service and philanthropy. I like how everyone is coming together,” she said. “We always talk about how our four councils need to have more unity, and I think this is a really good event starting towards that.”

Taking a break from the dancing was Alex Ledoux, a brother of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity.

“We’re here to support a good cause, to help raise money and awareness. I think it’s going well, there’s a lot of people here,” he said. “I danced for a little bit, I’m taking a break but I’ll be back out there I’m sure.”

According to the UDance fundraiser website, the event raised nearly $23,000 last year. Organizers for this year’s UDance set the goal at $25,000. Prior to the event, the fundraiser’s page on the Children Miracle Network’s website indicated that almost $12,000 had been raised. The page had not been updated last night and – according to information on the page – donations can still be made through the 2011 calendar year.

Northup said that that both she and Wallace have been involved with the event for the past three years. Northup was interested in the event even before her first day as a UMass student.

“I’m from Pennsylvania and [charity dance marathon] THON is huge at Penn State and my brother was really passionate about it,” said Northup. “So when I came to UMass it was something that I really looked forward to doing.”

While the primary participants in the event are members of Greek life, Wallace said one of the goals of this year’s UDance was to involve more of the campus community. Dance groups and other registered student organizations were invited to take part in the day’s activities, she said.

Chris Shores can be reached at cshores@dailycollegian.com.

Comments
2 Responses to “Lending a helping hand, one dance step at a time”
  1. Michael Wiseman says:

    Thak you for the great article about UDance. I just wanted to bring to your attention that you left off one of the co-chairs of the event who played a critical part in its success. Mike Capano of Pi Kappa Alpha and the Interfraterntiy Council was the IFC lead chair for the event.

    Thanks – Michael

  2. Free says:

    You can watch it in the movies, you watch it on TV and you suddenly you want to put on those dancing shoes and twirl around the room. Or maybe you think it’s a great way to get your daily dose of exercise because it looks like a lot more fun than that boring gym you’ve enrolled in. Never mind the why, ballroom dancing is sure to have you hooked so what you need to do is to look around and find out where you need to go to in order to learn to dance.

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