When Iowa State dance marathoners lace up their shoes for their big party in January every year, they don’t just dance the night away. They dance the day away, too. In fact, when all is said and done, these students stand for 15 hours straight. But doesn’t all that dancing make their feet hurt? Sure, a little. All that pain is forgotten, though, when they remember why they’re dancing – to band together and raise money for children at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.

Dance Marathon is one of the most popular student organizations at Iowa State. And for good reason. Not only do participants get to make an impact on children with life-threatening illnesses, they’re able to have fun with other students who want to make a difference. “Dance Marathon invites dancers to step out of their comfort zones to meet new people, whether it’s a person on your same dorm floor or one of our miracle kids. Plus, it’s a lot of fun,” said Jessica Pearce, dance marathon general co-director and senior in kinesiology and health.

Last year alone, 957 students participated in Dance Marathon, raising more than $327,000 for their cause. And chances are, like Pearce, these students have taken away a thing or two in their dancing adventure. “Dance Marathon has provided the push I need to stay on top of my schoolwork. I’ve learned how to prioritize my time, motivate people, and push myself to reach a higher standard,” she said.

And if there’s one thing Dance Marathon participants know, other than the importance of comfy shoes, it’s that college is about more than just class. It’s about furthering your interests outside of the classroom and meeting new people along the way. Who knows, by joining one of the 800 student clubs and organizations at Iowa State, you might even change as a person. Said Pearce, “The relationships I’ve built through my involvement with Dance Marathon have inspired me to become a greater version of myself.”

And isn’t that what college is all about?

Learn more about Dance Marathon.