RHA Hosts Eighth Annual Fordham Dance Marathon


FDM members host activities and performances both in-person and via livestream at this year’s big event. (Abbey Delk/The Fordham Ram)

Fordham’s Residential Hall Association (RHA) hosted its eighth annual Fordham Dance Marathon (FDM) event on Saturday, April 17.

The event raises donations for the Andrew McDonough B+ (“Be Positive”) Foundation, an organization that provides funding for research on pediatric cancer. This year, FDM raised over $92 million for the charity organization, according to the official FDM Instagram page.

Unlike in previous years, this year’s 12-hour long event was set up in a hybrid format to accommodate COVID-19 guidelines, said Cara Gosselin, FCRH ’21, executive co-director of FDM. The first half of FDM was held in-person on the second floor of Fordham’s McGinley Center, while the latter part of the event took place virtually via a YouTube live stream.

Normally, the big FDM event is scheduled in March, but this year, FDM members decided to delay it until April, explained Mackenzie Allen, FCRH ’21, the other executive co-director of FDM. The RHA’s final event each year is usually the “Under the Tent” dance. When it was canceled, FDM decided to host its event in its place, said Allen.

FDM members spent the last 13 months planning and organizing the event, said Allen. The uncertainty caused by the pandemic made the planning process much more difficult, which is another reason why FDM chose to delay the event.

“Because of COVID-19, we weren’t really sure what the rules would look like,” she explained.

Fortunately, the RHA’s lack of large-scale in-person events during the past two semesters gave FDM organizers access to a larger budget than normal, said Allen.

This allowed FDM to bring in outside vendors for the in-person portion of the event, including a caricature artist, a fortune teller and airbrush-tattoo artists.

The hybrid nature of this year’s FDM event also allowed the group to reach donors all over the country, said Allen. This year, Fordham family members, and students’ friends from other schools, could join the virtual portion of the event as well.

The virtual stream included performances from singer-songwriter Maude Latour and a question and answer session with Christi Lukasiak of “Dance Moms.” Including a live stream as part of FDM allowed the organizers to bring in guests and performers that normally might not make it to campus, explained Gosselin.

“It was nice to have names like that to bring people’s attention to the stream,” she said.

Despite the challenges and setbacks caused by the coronavirus pandemic, both Gosselin and Allen called this year’s event a success.

“We’ve been working on this for about 13 months, and all 13 of those months were in the middle of a pandemic,” said Gosselin. “So I would definitely say that all things considered, I’m definitely happy with how it went.”

Going forward, Gosselin and Allen said FDM members might consider keeping certain virtual elements they added to events in the past year. Being able to increase donations coming from outside sources was a huge advantage, explained Allen, and FDM might try to maintain this new stream of revenue in future years.