State A Thon raises over $165K for Children’s Miracle Network



Brianna Schreurs

At 10 p.m. Saturday, a colorful, glittery crowd of 600 students filled the Volstorff Ballroom anxiously awaiting State A Thon’s big reveal of its 2018 fundraising.

The 12-hour dance marathon went over its $165,000 goal, raising $165,829.49 for the Sanford Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in Sioux Falls.

“It was too close,” said Carly Boder, senior political science major. “Like way, way too close for comfort.”

Last year, State A Thon raised $151,456.07, which shattered the $120,000 goal. But Sammi Gervais, State A Thon co-coordinator, thought this year was a success in other ways.

The State A Thon executive team tried new fundraisers and a “really good turnout” at them, Gervais said.

Another success was this year’s State A Thon had more dancers. Last year around 400 dancers participated, and that number increased by around 200 this year.

Gervais said the larger turnout was due to better social media outreach by the executive team this year.

“We really reached out to our dancers this year,” she said. “They felt more in the loop. And when they feel in the loop they feel more invested.”

But Gervais said it’s less about how much is raised and more about the families State A Thon gets to support.

Morale leader Megan Kellen said one of her favorite parts of the day was seeing how CMN impacts people’s lives through videos and meeting them at the event.

“It was fun to hang out with my miracle child and celebrate eight months of hard work,” Kellen said.

Throughout the day, students learned line dances and other choreography, but there were more activities than just dancing. Participants played games with CMN kids, cheered as President Barry Dunn kissed a goat and saw a performance by Champions Forever, a family who performs with mostly unicycles and basketballs.

Carter Vander Wal, sophomore agriculture business major, said he enjoyed seeing the group for the second time.

“They always have a good message. You can never have too much advice,” he said.

With that, Vander Wal wanted to give some advice of his own: “State A Thon is a really good experience and if (students) haven’t done anything like this they should.”

Gervais said State A Thon has been a positive impact on her life and it’s always moving to help others.

“State A Thon means giving hope to families that have none, it means giving a purpose to students that need one. There’s so many ways State A Thon can mean to someone,” Gervais said with tears in her eyes.