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Campus & Community

Milestone for a Movement

What to Expect as Terp Thon Celebrates 10 Years of Fundraising “For the Kids”

By Carly Taylor ’19

Terp Thon

Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

Tomorrow's 10th annual Terp Thon will feature fan favorites and new activities as dancers support patients and families fighting pediatric illness.

The biggest charity event on campus is just a day away. Bring on the neon tutus, comfortable shoes and plates of Olive Garden breadsticks.

The 10th annual Terp Thon returns tomorrow, a high-energy dance marathon that supports patients and families fighting pediatric illness at Children’s National Health System in Washington. Tomorrow, the marathon is celebrating its first decade with fan-favorite activities (such as the breadstick-eating contest) and new diversions in the Reckord Armory.

“Our goal is that at any given moment, there’s multiple things dancers can do to pass the time,” said Analeigh Hughes, Terp Thon’s public relations chair.

Back in 2010, 250 students, over 40 organizations and four “miracle families” danced together at Cole Field House for the first Terp Thon to raise $53,394. By last year, the number of participants had exceeded 2,000, and volunteers hold smaller fundraisers all year round. In total, Terp Thon has raised more than $4.2 million.

Today, the student organization' still focuses on its original mission, “For the Kids.” At its signature event, dancers who have raised at least $120 will be on their feet for 12 hours to represent the typical length of a nurse’s shift at the hospital. But It’s not all running mans and Cha Cha Slides—dancing nonstop from noon to midnight is a hard ask.

For its 10th anniversary, Terp Thon is introducing new entertainment to help dancers get through the day (and night). Here’s what to expect at tomorrow’s extravaganza:

More Themed Hours
Terp Thon is known for pumping up the dance floor during its “power hour”—the final stretch between 11 p.m. and midnight, when flashing lights and electronic music evoke a rave. This year, participants can expect a throwback hour with popular music from past decades, and Maryland hour, which will feature giveaways and other activities to make everyone feel like they're at a Terps sports event. 

New Performances
“Family Feud” and juggling beef up this year’s lineup of talent. Members of Alpha Tau Omega and Alpha Xi Delta will entertain the crowd with their winning “Family Feud” skit from fall’s Terp Thon Showcase. The Juggling Club debuts here, and dancers will flip to see the return of Gymkana, the student acrobatic and gymnastics troupe. 

An Escape Room
After hosting this mystery-solving game at the Stamp All-Niter in the fall, Terp Thon is bringing an escape room to the dance marathon. Players will follow riddles and hints to beat the clock in an outer-space themed challenge.

Endless Eats
Dancers can refuel at the Safeway-sponsored snack shackDistrict Taco will provide a meal for dancers who hit a certain fundraising level. Playa Bowls will give out coupons, and Dunkin' and Smoothie King will share samples and coupons. Top it all off with birthday cake for dessert to celebrate the event’s double digits.

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.