Zeroed In: Where are They Now? Catching Up With 2007 Fundraising Projects Committee Chair Mary Irvine

2 Dec

By Emily Evans

Former Overall Committee member Mary Irvine did not know a lot about UNC Dance Marathon when she signed up to be a dancer as a first-year, but she quickly became one of its most devoted volunteers. “I don’t think I knew what I was getting into at the time,” she said, “but I absolutely loved the experience.” Irvine went on to serve on the Community Events committee, and only a few short years after she had first signed up to dance, she found herself leading the Fundraising Projects committee.

Though Irvine says she was involved in several other campus organizations during her time at Carolina, UNC-DM stood out. “UNC-DM had a sense of community and mission much greater than any other group,” she said. “It was evident that the leaders and students were so committed and devoted to the greater purpose of providing support to children and families dealing with sickness.”

Irvine said that energy, enthusiasm and commitment encouraged her to be involved on a deeper level. “The energy of coming together as a campus and a community with so many people in one building working toward one goal and participating together in this experience and celebrating our accomplishments at the end is maybe more powerful than anything else I have done since.”

Now in her final semester of law school at UNC, Irvine credits her UNC-DM experiences for inspiring her to pursue a career in the non-profit sector. “When I graduate in December, I plan to pursue my passion in education, children and family law,” she says.  “If nothing else, UNC-DM taught me to find something that makes you tick, to figure out what it is that you enjoy and do well, and to put your mind to it.”

Irvine said UNC-DM has helped her in other ways, too. After she graduated in 2007, she worked with an organization of philanthropic foundations in North Carolina, where she said her UNC-DM skills came in handy with organization, planning and the ability to work with the grant-making process.

Irvine said that UNC-DM was one of the biggest parts of her UNC experience. “I often say this to people, but when I think back about my senior year at UNC, I hardly remember going to class (oops) but I do remember spending hours and hours at Overall Committee meetings, canning at Kenan Stadium, in the Pit for recruitment weeks, at the hospital for Parent’s Night Out or hospital socials, at fundraising events on Franklin Street, or painting banners in the Fish Bowl,” she said.

“And I wouldn’t have had it any other way. UNC-DM taught me a lot more about the type of work I want to pursue and the power of a group of people to do something really awesome.”


Social media helps spread UNC-DM’s cause

13 Nov

By Megan Turner

Social media has been instrumental in spreading UNC Dance Marathon’s message, especially during this year’s Dancer Recruitment Week (DRW).

Media Relations, a subcommittee of UNC-DM’s publicity committee, has been working to spread the marathon’s mission across the state and country.

In order to do this, the committee has been setting follower goals for its Twitter and Facebook accounts. The first Twitter goal of 1,000 followers was met in October. Now with 1,170 followers, Victoria Cook, Media Relations sub chair, said in two days they were able to gain over 30 new followers.

The subcommittee has also created an incentive for new followers. Every Twitter user who followed @UNCDM during DRW was entered in a drawing to win a Maple View Farm gift card.

Cook said, “It’s another big push to try and attract more Twitter followers during this huge week.”

Social Media allows for the organization to tell the community about UNC-DM’s cause.

“We [are] posting videos, photos, and inspiring stories from real people that our organization has helped and encouraging words that show UNC-DM is more than just a 24-hour event,” Cook said.

The subcommittee also formed a dialogue with followers by creating themes for each day of DRW. The themes included #MemoryMonday, #TimelineThursday, #FTKFriday and others.

In addition, UNC-DM supporters utilized the hashtag #DMSurvivalKit or #SurvivalKit, in order to share information regarding how to survive the marathon or what a dancer should pack to help him or her stay energized for 24 hours.

#FTKFriday is not specific to DRW. This hashtag is promoted every Friday. UNC-DM supporters are encouraged to Twitpic themselves wear their UNC-DM gear or merchandise.

“[The themes] encouraged interaction from our followers and I think we’ve been largely successful at this,” Cook said.

Katie Dight participated in the UNC-DM Survival Kit tweeting. She said: “Twitter and Facebook are a great way to stay up to date about the marathon. It also lets you see who else is part of the cause and you can connect with them more easily.

“It’s a fun and easy way to stay connected because it’s full of constant reminders throughout the week about upcoming events or funny anecdotes about UNC-DM,” said Dight.

Social Media also helps other UNC-DM committees stay informed. Caitlin Ferraro, the Performer Coordinator subchair of UNC-DM’s Entertainment committee, said it helps her stay updated on fundraising events.

Ferraro said, “If I need info on the next benefit dinner or bar night, it’s really easy to find on Facebook or Twitter.”

She also said it helps the UNC-DM community stay connected. “UNC-DM’s social media use also definitely creates a feeling of solidarity; with upwards of 300 committee members, all of our tweets and Facebook posts help us stay connected to each other and to the rest of the University community,” said Ferraro.

Follow UNC-DM’s Twitter and Facebook accounts this week for a chance to win a Maple View gift card and stay connected to the UNC-DM community.

As Cook said, “This organization is a community, and we want to make sure that our social media reflects this.”

I Spy: A senior dancer

11 Nov

By: Jordan Sutton

There are many ways that students can support UNC Dance Marathon’s cause, but being a dancer is truly a one-of-a-kind way to support the kids.

Alison Griffin, a senior psychology major from Wilmington, is excited to finally dance at this year’s marathon during her last year in college.

Griffin supported UNC-DM last year by being a moraler and enjoyed encouraging the dancers. This year, it is her turn to be encouraged as she takes a 24-hour stand to support N.C. Children’s Hospital.

Griffin is already active with the hospital, volunteering and doing art projects with patients as they wait to see a doctor. Her experience as a volunteer connects her even more to UNC-DM’s cause.

“Interacting with the children and families is very rewarding, and the fact that I could possibly be interacting with families that are specifically benefiting from the FTK fund makes me smile,” she said.

Griffin is looking forward to dancing at this year’s marathon and hearing the stories from all the families who benefit from UNC-DM. Maybe she’ll be seen doing ‘pop lock and drop it’ – her favorite dance move.

It is never too late to be a dancer … until you graduate.

10 Nov

By: Emily Tracy

From first-time first-year dancers to fourth-time senior dancers, UNC-Dance Marathon has a full spectrum of dancers. For senior Dedren Snead, he knows it is never too late to make a stand for the kids.

Transfer student Snead will be participating in his first ever UNC-DM come Feburary.

“I heard about it last year, my first year here, and knew I absolutely had to do it this year,” Snead said.

The “bucket-list” appeal draws in many first-time senior dancers.

“You have do it while you are here. You only get one chance,” Snead said.

Sign up to dance in the Pit until 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, or online at

Two friends sign up for UNC-DM

9 Nov

By: Megan Turner

Briana Dillahunt and Joseph Level, good friends, signed up to be dancers at the 2012 UNC Dance Marathon because of their shared commitment to helping children.

Dillahunt is a first-year and is a pre-pharmacy major. She loves kids and said she could see this experience helping her with her future career goal of being a pharmacist.


“The cause is important to me because it supports the N.C. Children’s Hospital. I have volunteered in a hospital before and it was a rewarding experience,” Dillahunt said.

Joseph Level
Level is also a first-year and is a business major. He has experience working with kids through his church and volunteering at camps for children with disabilities.

“I love kids,” Level said. “I want to raise awareness for the hospital through fundraising.”

They are both excited to take a stand for a cause they are passionate about.

A love for kids leads first-year to dance

8 Nov

By: Megan Turner            

Gabby Howard, a first-year from Raleigh, N.C., signed up to be a dancer for the 2012 UNC Dance Marathon because of her many connections with helping children.

Throughout the years, Howard has worked with children through babysitting, working in her church’s nursery and through her involvement with The Ronald McDonald House Charities. Howard said these have been great experiences.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities’ mission is to “improve the health and well being of children.” Howard’s experiences with this organization led her to want to be involved with an organization at UNC that has similar values.

Howard said: “The marathon seems like a really fun experience. Also, it raises money for a cause this is really important to me.”

This will be the first marathon Gabby has been involved with, but believes it will be a rewarding experience. Her motivation will be her previous involvement with helping children.

First-year defensive lineman takes on UNC-DM

8 Nov

By: Emily Tracy

First-year Devonte Brown, who committed to UNC’s football program over a year ago, is now committed to UNC Dance Marathon.  He was inspired to sign up after participating in his high school’s mini-marathon at Jack Britt High School in Fayetteville, N.C.  which is sponsored by UNC-DM.

The #74 defensive lineman said that he signed up for the UNC-DM to meet new people in a fun, new environment.  According to Brown, he and Allen Champagne, fellow defensive lineman #84, are planning on doing UNC-DM together to help benefit N.C. Children’s Hospital.

You can join Brown, Champagne and hundreds of other UNC sutudents by signing up this week in the Pit or online at to dance in the 2012 UNC Dance Marathon.

Devonte Brown pledges to dance in the 2012 UNC Dance Marathon