This past weekend, thousands of University of Connecticut community members came together at HuskyTHON to support Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, raising over $1.5 million, a new all-time record for the event.
This is an amazing achievement. Since its beginning in 2000, the dance marathon has grown immensely. Just under $14,000 was raised in its inception, nothing to balk at. But since getting off the ground, HuskyTHON has only done better and better, year after year. In 2009, UConn broke $100,000. Less than 10 years later, we topped $1 million.
It has not stopped there. The strides we have made in the past couple years are nothing short of incredible. It is galvanizing to see the absolute energy leading up to and during the event. When we first broke seven figures, many feared we would be in for disappointment the year after. Instead, it has galvanized the community, encouraging people to give more of their time and money to this cause. Seeing UConn climb to new heights is inspiring.
It’s critical to keep in mind that this does not just happen by accident. This is the result of months of dedication by fundraisers, morale captains and organizers. We have not taken the total ever further for the past decade simply by sitting on our laurels. It is only by the repeated effort by students that we are able to accomplish this. Some day, we may falter just a step, but for now the energy is high.
After such an emotionally taxing fall and winter for the UConn community, it gives a little hope to see us come together to achieve something great. This is a coming together of not only students, not only the organizers, not only UConn as an institution, but of the entire community holding us up. Just as HuskyTHON represents giving back to our community, may we also keep in mind the effort that those around us have put in to get us to where we are.
Dancing for 18 hours in the meantime is some mix of exhilarating and exhausting, but it is the purpose and impact of this event that we may find truly energizing. And so, while those involved sit in the afterglow (or catch up on much-needed sleep), may we all use this as inspiration to work just as hard next year and every day until then.