On April 3-4, SHU-A-THON, a club founded by Seton Hill University student Emily Heinicka, junior communications major of Irwin, Pa., sponsored a 24-hour dance marathon, “Dance for Hope,” which benefited The Children’s Institute.

“The event was a success. We raised over $3,000 for The Children's Institute,” said Heinicka. “I wanted the participants to have fun, be engaged, be motivated and dance for hope.”

Over 60 people attended the event.

Throughout the Dance-A-Thon, participants engaged in numerous activities. Every hour, attendees participated in the SHU-A-THON line dance that reflected the year's news, pop culture, politics, and celebrities. There were multiple theme hours throughout the 24 hours, such as glow in the dark hour, Broadway hour, hoedown hour, beach hour and flashback hour. In addition to the dancing, participants took part in games such as human checkers and musical chairs as well as competitions like American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. There were also performances by Masters of the Universe, Student Theatre Activities Council, and the Seton Hill University Dance Club.

SHU-A-THON team members Chelsea Oliver, a sophomore new media journalism and communications major, and Katie Lemon, a sophomore biology and chemistry major, were among the students who signed up for the dance marathon. They were sponsored by Seton Hill University’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee.

“We decided to join because the event supported a good cause and because the club and volunteers put so much time into it,” Oliver said.

“We wanted to give kids hope for a cure,” said Lemon.

In addition to the pledges and donations dancers received, t-shirt sales, admission to the event, and sponsorship, SHU-A-THON raised funds through weekly tagging in Greensburg. Additionally, SHU-A-THON hosted a 5K during Homecoming weekend and a midnight dodge ball tournament.

“We hope THON embraces our efforts to follow their footsteps and raise funds for kids who truly need them,” Heinicka said. “We are working on finding our own niche and unique identity.”

The student club debated between various causes, including cancer and autism, of whom they would donate the funds to.

“We knew that we wanted to donate our time and funds to an organization focused on kids. The Children's Institute not only offers services for children with autism, but they are a nurturing organization for kids and young adults with various special needs. Their effort to help these children reach their own personal miracle is so inspiring. This is why we chose to donate the funds to them,” said Heinicka.

Heinicka hopes that SHU-A-THON will continue as a student club after she graduates from Seton Hill.

“I hope to leave my footprint at Seton Hill not through athletics or academics, but through service. I want my Capstone project, SHU-A-THON, to reflect the importance of social responsibility in caring for the community,” said Heinicka.