IUDM and FTK: What's it all about?

To all my freshman or other newbies out there, you must be wondering what these four letters means: IUDM, and you also must be wondering why it's accompanied by these other three little letters: FTK. Unless you've been living under a rock, you should be seeing either signs sporting these letters, chalking on sidewalks on the way to class, or people just sporting t-shirts with the same thing. Well here I am to explain everything and anything that has to deal with these letters.

IUDM stands for Indiana University Dance Marathon, which is a student-run organization that started up in 1991 (when some of you weren't even born yet) that raised funds to support Riley's Children Hospital as well as the Ryan White Infectious Disease Center to allow all patients, regardless of financial standing, to recieve the best care possible. It is a 36 hour long dance marathon in which students who have been fundraising all year long, celebrate their efforts and get to see how their hard work has paid off. To date, IUDM has raised over $12 million for this wonderful cause.

This year, IUDM will be held the weekend of October 26 - 29 at the HPER building. For those of you haven't visited the HPER yet, it has been newly renovated and have brand new basketball courts, roof, and volleyball courts. Last year, IUDM raised $1.8 million and this year, the many students involved are try to make their goal of raising over $2 million for Riley.

Which brings me to the second acronym, FTK, which stands for For The Kids. Those involved in this organization are raising all of their efforts and money for the ones who need it the most: the Riley children. Some students do it because they were Riley kids themselves and hold a personal story about being a Riley kid. Others become involved because it's a great way to meet people. Others wish to become a part of being something bigger than themselves. For whatever reason, IUDM is and still remains one of IU's most popular student organizations and continue to recruit people to participate in the marathon each year.

At the marathon, there's games, activities, and of course, dancing. Dancers also get to visit and play with Riley children, as well as hear some amazing stories of survival thanks to Riley. It is a heartwarming, and truly amazing experience that I believe that everybody who attends IU should participate in at least once. Luckily there are many ways to get involved with IUDM, whether it is being a dancer or serving on a committee.

There are many ways to donate to IUDM. Many businesses hold percentage nights and there are many events held throughout the fall semester that go toward the cause. In the beginning of this month, there was a festival on Kirkwood called Rockin' for Riley in which local bands played on the Kirkwood square and many restaurants on Kirkwood allowed a percentage of their profits made that night to go toward Riley. On Friday, September 7th, Phi Mu and IUDM put together a fashion show of brand new IUDM apparel that will be worn for the marathon this year, modeled by Riley children and Riley families.

If you're interested in getting involved in this amazing organization, visit http://iudm.org/get-involved/ or look around for opportunities to get involved in IUDM around campus. You could also visit the IUDM office which is located on the 5th floor of the IMU.

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