The campus is a short 15-to-20 minute train ride from the heart of downtown Chicago, which means that students have the opportunity to visit and attend hundreds of restaurants, bars and events in the city. Although it has a lot of great events and activities throughout the year, our university is well recognized for two large-scale events organized by students: “Dillo Day” and “Dance Marathon.”
“Dillo Day” is an annual day-long music festival organized by the students that takes place right along the lakefront of Lake Michigan on Northwestern’s campus. The festival has previously had performers like Regina Spektor, B.o.B., Lupe Fiasco, Steve Aoki, Nelly and many more. The lineups comprise of diverse performers that range from rappers to indie bands. While the main attraction is the musical acts, there are also plenty of other activities available during the festival including free henna tattoos, face-painting, picture booths and delicious food.
The Dillo Day tradition began in 1972 when a group of Northwestern students from Texas held a small celebration in honor of the armadillo. Today, the purpose has evolved into a celebration of another school year coming to an end. For the seniors, it is one of their last college undergraduate memories.
Another event centered on music and dancing is the “Dance Marathon,” which is an annual philanthropic fundraiser that allows students to raise money for foundations and organizations that support good causes.
Now you may be thinking, “That sounds easy!” but there is a very important catch. In order to participate in the event, the students who sign up have to dance for 30 hours straight! It may sound a bit crazy but hundreds of students sign up every year to be part of one of the United States’ largest entirely student-run philanthropies to help out a deserving cause. The event began more than 30 years ago and raised approximately 9,100 dollars in its first year back in 1975. Back then, the marathon was 52 hours long with 15 couples as participants. Throughout the years the event has grown and developed into a bigger and more well-known charitable event. This past year, the marathon had more than 1,000 students partaking in the marathon and raised a record-breaking 1,214,632 dollars for two foundations.
This event is one that most students have on their bucket lists before graduating from Northwestern. It is a great opportunity to not only help those in need, but also to create amazing memories with friends while also testing your own stamina and limits. Participants get limited bathroom and eating breaks, but also have the chance to receive a foot massage to help them re-energize and continue dancing. There are also specific times when friends can come to the tent and cheer on their friends who are dancing in the marathon. The goal of the event, raising money for the chosen charity, is the most important thing at the end of the 30 hours. However, the event itself is a huge endeavor taken on by students that becomes one of the greatest memories for a lot of participants and volunteers alike. At the end of the 30 hours when the final amount raised is announced, there are lots of hugs and even tears of happiness, as students bond over the unique experience and the change they have made for the people receiving the money.
These two events are only a small look into all the programming and planning that goes on at Northwestern but hopefully you found it interesting to learn about two of our most well-known and treasured events. While I am here at Ewha Womans University I hope to also learn about all the unique and interesting events and activities that are offered on campus while also exploring the city.
* Talia Romo is currently studying at Ewha as an exchange student