Students danced the night away to raise money for Hasbro Children’s Hospital. |Photo by Greg Clark

The second annual RhodyTHON fundraiser, which donates all proceeds to the Hasbro Children’s Hospital, raised $292,173 on Saturday night, drastically surpassing last year’s record-breaking total.

The event was held on Saturday from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. at the Mackal Field House. The executive board for this event had other fundraisers throughout the year, but RhodyThon was the most successful. Last year, they raised approximately $172,000. This year they raised $292,173 overall.

All proceeds go to the Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island and the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) hospitals.

The CMN has partnered with over 300 schools and universities across the country to host dance marathons to raise funds for the children. Last year, this idea was proposed by Hailey Flavin, who at the time, was president of URI’s Greek Life Panhellenic Council and executive director of student affairs for RhodyThon.

“Last year a couple of students reached out to the CMN and said we think URI would be good at this and wanted to start it,” Meghan Boegler, the co-executive director of RhodyThon said. “We applied to do a dance marathon with the Miracle Network and they partnered us with Hasbro. We benefit Hasbro and so does SalveThon that happens at Salve Regina University.”

Throughout the eight hours of the event, various activities and competitions took place every hour. Also, every hour was dedicated to one or more families.

“Feedback that we got from last year, was that there wasn’t enough to do,” Boegler said. “We really want to change that and we have a bunch of things going on throughout the whole night. For example, our bounce house and spirit wall [would] be up the whole night.”

Apart from night long activities, there were several other events that kept the participants entertained. Apart from nonstop, high-energy music playing all night, the event also had activities that cheered on the participants to “Do it for the kids,” and keep them entertained.

“There will be music on the whole night and what we call the “Morale Dance,” which we will have every hour,” Boegler said. “We have a couple different competitions like a basketball tournament, a popular dance contest and a pageant contest. [We did] a ‘light up the hospital’ that goes along with ‘Good Night Lights,’ which is a tradition at the Hasbro.”

“Good Night Lights” is an initiative by the Hasbro Children’s Hospital where people from all around the neighborhood flash their phones to bring the miracle children positive energy and hope. At midnight, a short video that highlighted the work of the executive board was screened right before the final reveal of the overall funds raised.

The team that raised the most money was Sigma Alpha Epsilon with $25,493. The top fundraiser was the president of Zeta Tau Alpha, Dominique Franco, who passed away suddenly in February this year. Over $8,000 dollars were donated to her page in rememberance of her.

“Philanthropy is just something that is really important to this campus,” Boegler said. “I know our dance marathon manager expected us to get $15,000 last year and we blew that out of the water. We broke the record for most money raised by a first-year program last year.”

Various Greek Life organizations were present and had ‘adopted’ miracle kids for the night to make this night memorable for them. Various fraternities and sororities were among the highest fundraisers for the event. The President of the Interfraternity Council, Sean Sutherland, said the fundraising success was due to their focus on helping the community.  

“One of our core pillars is service,” Sutherland said. “It’s really about giving back to the community. Our community has always been really good at, when asked to raise money for a cause, just being able to do it without hesitation.”

The President of the Panhellenic Council, Laura Creese, said that fundraising during RhodyThon itself, helped various groups raise their fundraising totals.

“The atmosphere really helps with the fundraising during the event,” Creese said.

Many students and participants of the event were overwhelmed by the response and the enormous amount of total funds raised.

“I loved meeting the families the most, and I cried when they introduced them,” Freshman Emma Brennan, a participant said. “That was my favorite part. I was here for all eight hours. I was surprised because I thought we would’ve made a little over $250,000 but [$292,173] was amazing.”