Huskers are finalizing plans to attend the annual HuskerThon dance marathon on Feb. 17.
The event, which raises money for Children’s Hospital in Omaha and is the largest student philanthropic organization at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is noon Feb. 17 through midnight Feb. 18 in Nebraska Union.
There are 1,274 Nebraska students signed up to participate. The HuskerThon is part of the Dance Marathon movement that involves 350 colleges and some high schools across North America, each raising money for local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Janae Aune, president of the executive council that runs the event, said this year the group’s focus has been to raise as much money as possible by increasing visibility of the event and its mission.
Now in its 16th year, the HuskerThon has raised nearly $1 million for Children’s Hospital. The event raised $174,000 in 2017 and has set a goal of $212,000 this year.
Aune said the 2018 goal has special meaning.
“There were 212,000 patient visits to the hospital in the last year,” Aune said. “We’re also asking each participant to raise an additional $62 during the event in honor of the 62 children treated there just this past week.”
Many of those kids will also attend the HuskerThon and hang out with the college students, dancing and playing games.
“We invited the families so that the kids can be kids again,” Aune said. “And it reminds us how important this event is and who we’re dancing for.”
Aune, who grew up near the University of Iowa and was aware of Dance Marathon from an early age, said the group has made a lot of changes to recruit more participants and help those participants raise more money. Among the changes was a minimum of $100 to be raised in order to participate, and increased activities to generate interest.
Each year, the executive council works with a hospital liaison to decide how the funds will be used. This year, the money will go toward the new hematology and oncology department of the hospital.