Tutus, tango and twelve hours of dancing: How Bobcats raised over $40,000 for charity

For a full 12 hours on Saturday Feb. 13, Baker Ballroom was transformed into a discotheque of giving, receiving and most importantly, fun.

The second annual BobcaThon was held on Saturday (2/13) to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio. Over 180 students gathered in Baker to dance the day away to raise money for the charity.

The orange team does a line dance at BobcaThon
The orange team does a line dance at BobcaThon

This year, BobcaThon raised over $40,000 for the Ronald McDonald house through year-long fundraising ending with a 12-hour dance marathon. Dancers sign up throughout the year and look to raise money. The year-long fundraiser ends with a day of dancing and stories from people who have stayed at the house. The majority of the money is raised by the dancers.

“It’s very empowering to be a dancer,” Meg Sanders, BobcaThon president, said. “It’s life-changing for a lot of people.”

The Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio, the largest of its kind in the world, is a charity that looks to give affordable housing to those whose children are in the Nationwide Children’s hospital for diseases and ailments. Without the charity, many families would not be able to stay close to their children while they are in the hospital. The house provides food, shelter and a supportive community to families who are affected by sickness.

Amber Fosler, a 2003 graduate of Ohio University, was the first to share her personal story about the Ronald McDonald House. Her son Elias was born without a bile duct. Because of this, his bile built up in his liver and caused deterioration of the liver. For months, Elias was in and out of the hospital with surgeries and illnesses related to his liver. For the majority of their overnight stays, the Fosler family stayed in the Ronald McDonald House.

The Fosler Family and their son Elias were residents of the Ronald McDonald House
The Fosler Family and their son Elias were residents of the Ronald McDonald House

“Other than having a clean and comfortable place to go, there was another benefit of having access to the Ronald McDonald House facilities,” Fosler said in a speech given to the BobcaThon participants. “Since birth, Elias has racked up more than $3 million dollars in insurance claims. We still had to pay out of pocket for our stay at the house. But, had we been forced to stay in a hotel, I have no idea how we would have been able to afford 60 nights. Because we had the house though, we had an amazingly affordable place to go.”

On average, it costs from $50-$100 per night for a family to stay at the house, according to Sanders. But families who stay are asked to make a donation up to $25 a night or do not have to pay at all.

“Not everyone can pay,” Fosler said. “But that’s ok; no one is ever turned down from Ronald McDonald house. And it’s only made possible by amazing people like all of you.”

With the exact amount raised being $40,473.01, families can spend over 400 nights at the Ronald McDonald house without having to pay. All thanks to the dancers and supporters of BobcaThon.

“We really all share one common goal: to put on the best dance marathon we can, and raise money for an amazing cause.” Sanders said.

This is ‘nacho’ average study snack…

The tangy smell of tomatoes and beef grows stronger as one descends the escalator connecting the first and second floors of Baker University Center.

UPC encourages students to sign up and join each week.
UPC encourages all students to join each week.

Across from West 82, a line of hungry college students twists and turns around the Bobcat Student Lounge. Each of them is inching closer to the edge of Bobcat Depot where they can pick up a small Styrofoam plate to start building his or her own ultimate nachos. There is an assortment of toppings across the four tables, including cheese, meat, sour cream, salsa and guacamole.

But what’s a nacho bar without nacho-flavored chips, Doritos, Bugles and Pringles?

Every Wednesday at noon, University Program Council (UPC) puts on Flavor of the Week. Sponsored by the Senate Appropriations Committee here on campus, the event has been a tradition for four years.

“I think it’s just a good way to get students involved in doing something fun with free food,” says Hannah Hershfield, UPC Public Relations Executive.

All UPC members are encouraged to help each Wednesday if they are free.
All UPC members are encouraged to help each Wednesday if they are free.

Although flavors sometime overlap during the year—such as chocolate and chocolate-covered strawberry—the organization tries its best to not repeat any flavors within the same year. Each week, a UPC programmer and group of event planning associates (EPAs) come together to brainstorm a flavor and which foods would work well with it. But if the creativity bug isn’t biting, the whole UPC board will come together to decide.

This week’s theme came from a special cause.

“We’re doing Nacho for Bobcathon for their dance week, so they did one activity a week to spell out ‘dance,’” says Jenna Sopko, UPC University Events Executive. “Today is ‘n,’ so we did nacho for flavor of the week.”

How we feel today at #flavoroftheweek. Stop by the Bobcat Student Lounge for NACHO STUFF

A photo posted by @ohioupc on

Out of all the flavors they’ve ever done, Hershfield’s favorite is cheese and Sopko’s favorite is chocolate. One year when UPC used to hold the event in Front Room, they did Red Velvet as the week’s flavor. People were able to sample items such as hot chocolate, whoopie pies, cookies, popcorn and cake.

Some Flavor of the Week selections haven’t been as great of a hit; take jalapeño for example.

“We definitely have some flavors that have been way more successful than others, and then we look back and we’re like, ‘Why did we even pick that flavor?’” Sopko says with a laugh.