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.

Warm Up with Pi Beta Phi as temperatures drop

Sweet treats served an even sweeter cause during Pi Beta Phi sorority’s two-day philanthropy event to fight illiteracy. Pi Beta Phi promotes literacy both nationally and locally with “First Book” and “Read. Lead. Achieve.” through multiple fundraising events throughout the year.

On February 10th and 11th, 2016, members of the sorority took turns working shifts on the first floor of the Baker University Center where they sold homemade sugar cookies and hot chocolate. Students and faculty members alike who supported “Warm Up With Pi Beta Phi” expressed gratitude for the steamy beverage as the temperature dropped lower and lower.

Although some customers commented that it was far too early for sugar, many children walked away with smiles on their faces and cookies in hand.

The women had fun joking with students on their way to class and attempting to persuade them to support the worthy cause.

Take a cheat day from your spring break bod to eat some handmade Pi phi treats & help fight children's illiteracy

A video posted by Ohio Alpha Pi Beta Phi (@ohioupiphi) on

Above is a post by Pi Beta Phi’s official Instagram account at Ohio University. Cookies and hot chocolate sold for $1 each.

Megan Girvin, the spearhead of the event, is the vice president of philanthropy for the organization. She baked all of the sugar cookies for the event and then enlisted the help of other members to decorate them as a way for the women to bond and spend some time all together.

The women of Pi Beta Phi decorate sugar cookies for the upcoming philanthropy event.
The women of Pi Beta Phi decorate sugar cookies for the upcoming philanthropy event.

“We raised a little over $175, but being one of our smaller events, it was more about getting the girls involved,” said Girvin.

Leaders in the organization take every opportunity they can to promote member participation. Not only did Pi Beta Phi use this event to give back to the community, but it was also a way for new members to contribute and get to know more upperclassmen. The $175 will go toward supporting local schools in Athens County.

Girvin stated that Pi Phi will hold more philanthropies in the upcoming months. These events will earn significantly more money than Warm Up with Pi Beta Phi. The sorority will also hold “Knoodles for Knowledge” and “Pi Burger Phi” to support its campaign against illiteracy.

To find out more about the Ohio Alpha chapter of Pi Beta Phi, the organization’s website provides detailed information about its philanthropy and the chapter as a whole.