In 2013, for the first time in Dance Marathon history, a new team will aim to bring together dancers from a variety of different cultural backgrounds on campus.
The group, All Cultural Effect, is a joint collaboration between several of Northwestern’s cultural organizations and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. It will be spearheaded by DM public relations committee member and Weinberg junior Noor Hasan, as well as McCormick sophomore Chen Lu. Hasan and Lu developed the idea for the group after speaking with their committee heads about reaching out to more student groups on campus, specifically multicultural ones.
“A lot of times when there is any kind of issue on campus related to diversity and inclusion, there’s a lot of conversation and dialogue but hardly anyone steps up to make a concrete change,” Hassan said. With the formation of All Cultural Effect, she believes DM is taking a step toward change by reaching out to a community that doesn’t always feel they can “jump in and get involved.”
Finance committee member and Weinberg sophomore Mike Choi also helped create All Cultural Effect. For Choi, encouraging more diversity was a necessary step for DM because it is “one of the most community-building events at Northwestern.”
The entire DM executive team agreed, according to David Harris, a SESP junior and co-chair of the DM public relations committee.“DM is a rare opportunity where a quarter of our university comes together to support a single unified cause in 30 hours of adrenaline and passion,” Harris said. “So ensuring that all types of students with varied affiliations are represented within that is a pertinent priority.”
Even though DM aims to be a community for every student, most involvement is from “dorms and Greek organizations,” according to DM public realtions co-chair Katie Prentiss, a Medill senior. “Giving more avenues for more people from different groups to get involved really helped us to reach our goal even more.”
To recruit members for the team, Hassan, Choi and Lu sent letters to various cultural groups on campus and created a Facebook group. Dance Marathon even extended the registration period for All Cultural Effect by six hours to ensure that the team gained as many members as possible. By the time registration ended on Oct. 26, the group had more than 50 members.
Included in All Cultural Effect is Korean American Students Association member Theodore Tae. The Communication sophomore said he was “on the fence” about participating in Dance Marathon this year, but after Choi and Lu spoke to him about the new All Cultural Effect team, he jumped at the opportunity to register with them.
“Being in the All Cultural Effect group is just an awesome way to meet new people from other cultural backgrounds,” Tae said. “I think it really solidified my decision to do DM this year.”