In one of my posts last month, College Kids Helping Kids, I talked about BUFFthon and how
great of a charity event it is! Recently, I got an online interview with Erin Silverman, a senior here at CU-Boulder, and the Director of Philanthropy on the Panhellenic Board – she’s also the event director for the entire BUFFthon event this year! Here are some questions she answered about BUFFthon for us:
What is BUFFthon’s goal and purpose?
BUFFthon is one of the university’s largest student-run philanthropy events, it a 10-hour event benefiting our local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, Children’s Hospital Colorado. More than 700 students campus-wide, including the Greek community, CU Athletics, intramurals, campus clubs and residence halls pledge to stand on their feet for 10 consecutive hours. We are privileged to honor our Miracle Families at BUFFthon each year to tell their stories of resilience and hope to inspire our dancers.
In the past, BUFFthon has been a Homecoming event for the Greek system, and for the past few years, we have been attempting to break through that and make it an entire campus wide event. This year, for the first year ever, our event officially became an all campus event and not just a Greek event, so we are very excited about this!
How long have you been involved with Buffthon and how did you get your position?
I got involved with BUFFthon my freshman year after I attended the event in the fall. I absolutely fell in love with it and when the opportunity presented for me to apply for the
committee, I figured, why not! I joined the committee my freshman year and always dreamed to one day be in charge of the entire event. Each year up until now, my senior year, I have been on the committee in different positions and have loved every minute of it! Last year, after two terms on the executive board in my sorority, I decided to apply for the Panhellenic Executive Board, solely for the Director of Philanthropy position. The person in this position becomes the event director for BUFFthon, and I knew it was time to make that dream come true! When I found out last November that I got the position, I was so excited and could not wait to start planning this incredible event!
How and when did Buffthon start?
BUFFthon started 10 years ago and this year marked our 10th anniversary! BUFFthon is part of the national Dance Marathon movement. Dance Marathon is a nationwide movement, involving college and high school students at more than 150 schools across the country who raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in their community.
How did this year compare to others, statistically?
Comparatively speaking, the event doubled this year! Last year’s reveal number was $38,303 and this year our number was $76,534. Last year we had about 578 dancers registered, whereas this year we had 1,485 dancers registered! Each year we strive to improve and I absolutely feel that this year was one for the making for the BUFFthon team!
How is that money distributed?
The money raised through Dance Marathon benefits the Children’s Fund, which helps to provide the best possible healthcare experience for patients and their families at Children’s Colorado. In 2014, Children’s Colorado treated patients from all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and international patients from 10 different countries. Your unrestricted gifts enable us to:
-Offer family-centered care that supports parents, family and siblings
-Treat all children well, regardless of ability to pay
-Make groundbreaking strides in research
-Ensure access to quality care through Children’s Colorado’s Network of Care sites and regional clinics
Is it true that the hours for the dancers will be moved up to 12 hours next year?
Each year we attempt to move the hours up a little bit! We understand that it is a major time commitment, but we want our dancers to truly understand why we are here and who we do this for! This year we made the jump from 6 to 10 hours and I absolutely see an increase for next year, but I am not 100% sure on exactly what that will be! For reference, we are one of the shortest events as many other schools range from 20-48 hours long! One day I see BUFFthon hitting those numbers and I cannot wait.
What do the kids think about sharing their cancer stories to a gym full of strangers?
The kids love doing this! Some are shyer compared to others but many of them do this on a regular basis! Our kids love sharing their stories, but we make sure that we keep close to them so they know we are here for them no matter what! There are positions on our board that are designated to making bonds with the kiddos and families and this year we did a great job at doing just that! Our Family Director, Grace Coates, was so attentive to each of the family’s needs and made sure that the kids saw her as a friend and someone they could run to or simply hold her hand when they got shy. Grace was incredible at this and our kids would not have had as much fun without her help! The parents are the ones that have a harder time with this section as they have to relive the hard times and we make sure we provide a full support team and they know we are here for them!
What do you think college students take away from this event? You, personally?
College students take away the appreciation for their health, their life and their overall understanding for others. Many people come to the event because they are forced . . . but they leave wanting more! I always have people asking how they can get more involved and do more and this just warms my heart and truly proves that our campus has amazing students that just want to help others and make a difference! I personally have gained so much from working with this organization and I know it can have a major impact on many other students, as well!
This event has changed my life and I cannot wait to work with this incredible organization in the future. I know that our campus has the ability to turn this event into something great and we can get on the same level as many of the other schools!