It’s that time of the year! No, not Christmas yet, but almost as exciting—once again, Columbia University Dance Marathon is dancing for eighteen hours straight to teach you about maternal and pediatric health across the globe.
CUDM and GlobeMed have remarkably similar structures. Both organizations are partnered with a nonprofit intended to assist the international HIV/AIDS crisis. CUDM is an annual 18-hour dance marathon benefiting the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Not only is this event dedicated to raising money, but more importantly to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and the Foundation’s work through a dynamic and culturally diverse celebration of life. This is a monumental event to serve and connect everyone one of us to our bodies in ways that remind us of our capabilities. Awareness of our bodies allows us to both recognize and push the limits. Dancing is an act of solidarity with those who suffer, but more importantly a celebration of our potential.
CUDM is inspired by Dance Marathon, a nationwide movement involving high school and college students raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in their respective communities. Started in 1991, the program now spends the entire country, benefiting hundreds of causes. Why dance? To quote one of the first Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Dance Marathon’s mission statement: “We dance for those who can’t.” It is this connection with the cause that makes dance marathons events unlike any other. Dance Marathons have become a tradition on campus and in the community. Each event is entirely student run and all donate 100% of the funds raised directly to their cause, which, in this case, is the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
It’s all fun and dancing, but at the end of the day it’s important to understand the causes this event is benefiting. GWED-G, GlobeMed’s partner organization has a few main goals: spreading HIV/AIDS Awareness and sensitization, building a strong health worker network and community capacity, improving maternal and newborn health, and eliminating gender based violence. Similar to GWED-G, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation seeks to prevent pediatric HIV infection and eradicate pediatric AIDS through research, advocacy and treatment programs.
Excited? Just dance! Don’t want to dance alone? Create a team! Don’t want to dance? Be a moraler! There are tons of ways to take part, but most importantly: spread the facts. This week, members from both clubs will be in John Jay Dining Hall to discuss HIV/AIDS, public health awareness, reducing stigma, and ways you can get involved and help us create a world in which mothers and children can be healthier and happier!