The Goshen College Latino Student Union will hold GC’s first ever benefit dance marathon on Saturday, April 2 in the Recreation and Fitness Center. The event is called “Dance Marathon: Dance Today for the People of Tomorrow.”

According to Janeth Vela, a junior LSU leader, the Saturday night event will feature “a Mario Kart video game competition, bouncy houses, lots of good food, dancing of course, ping pong, basketball, henna tattooing, a rave, speakers, great food and we will also be airing the March Madness semifinals.”

Last semester at the annual Club Summit, Claire Frederick, a junior, shared an idea: a dance marathon. Frederick enjoyed dance marathons in high school, and wanted to bring one to Goshen.

Dance marathons are a popular trend across the country, often used at high schools and colleges as a way to raise funds for charity.

When Jessica Davila, a senior and member of the Latino Student Union, heard Frederick’s suggestion, she and Rocio Diaz, CIIE coordinator of intercultural community engagement, approached Frederick with a cause for the event to benefit: the Indiana Undocumented Youth Alliance.

All of the Dance Marathon proceeds will go to the organization, which works to support undocumented youth throughout the state.

According to Elizabeth Woodworth, a senior, the GC Dance Marathon “will be donating to students specifically in our area who would like to attend college in the future but may not have the resources.”

Saturday’s event will take place at the end of the IUYA’s Week of Action, a social media campaign which calls attention to the needs of undocumented young people using the hashtag #undocuhoosier.

March is also Coming Out of the Shadows month, a national campaign working to support people who are “coming out” as undocumented.

Planning the Dance Marathon has been a collaboration between students across the GC campus. Along with Frederick, Davila and Woodworth, the planning team includes Phil Chan, a sophomore, Aritha Weerasinghe, a sophomore, Janeth Vela, a junior, Olivia Wenger, a first-year, Alexa Valdez, a junior, and Jose Mendoza, a senior.

Frederick encourages students to come regardless of dancing ability or interest. “A Dance Marathon is such a fun event and there is a lot more than dancing involved,” she said.

Frederick explained the structure of the event, saying “The idea behind a dance marathon is that you come and stay for the whole time.”

The event will begin at 7:15 p.m. with a short opening ceremony, followed by open time for all of the various activities.

At different intervals, everyone present will be called to the stage to hear comments from guest speakers and to learn a line dance. At the end of the night, a closing ceremony will reveal how much money has been raised and the whole group will perform the line dance together.

Woodworth and the rest of the planning team hope for a large turnout at the Dance Marathon. “It will be a great way to let off some steam as we are all approaching the stressful end of the semester,” she said.

Vela sees the possibility of the Dance Marathon becoming an annual campus event. “I’m excited to work towards a great cause and to start a new tradition on campus if we continue to do this next year,” she said.

Tickets for the Dance Marathon are $5 for entry only or $10 for entry and food, and will be for sale in Java Junction and at Westlawn Dining Hall. Commuter students can also talk to Alexa Valdez or Janeth Vela for tickets. Frederick notes that anyone interested in helping out for a discounted ticket should contact her to volunteer.

Vela added that students who are interested in getting more involved in LSU should continue to come to the LSU events and talk to the leaders. “We’re working towards becoming more of a support system for students than just a club who hosts events,” she said.