While the actual event is impressive alone, Jagathon is a year-round philanthropic mission. Starting in April, IUPUI students reach out to their personal networks while volunteering at numerous events around Indianapolis.
Jagathon president Shelbie Walker said she and other Jagathon student participants were course marshals for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. Students helped out at the FFA National Convention and offered sweet assistance at the Allstate Hot Chocolate 5K, along with several IUPUI and Indiana University events. In turn, organizations offer their financial support to Jagathon – and Riley Hospital.
Photos by Liz Kaye, Indiana University
How much was raised in 2018?
The pre-event work raked in more than $444,000, while the event itself drew $57,000. Both were records in the event’s 17-year history.
Like walkathons and jump-rope-athons in elementary school, students gather sponsorships before the dance marathon. Whether with moves they bring to the event or steps they learn over the weekend, students dance throughout the night, earning money for Riley children in the process.
What else happens at Jagathon?
Walker said the event takes over the Campus Center – from the theater level to the fourth floor. The main stage will be in Room 450, which will feature bands, DJs, speakers and testimonials from the 40 Riley families invited to the event.
Games and inflatables will be in the theater level and atrium. The second and third floors will contain more entertainment, as well as reflection rooms and hospitality for the Riley families.
A schedule of the major events within Jagathon:
Get hyped: The opening ceremony will feature IUPUI Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.
Race to Riley: According to Walker, Jagathon is the only dance marathon of its kind to include a quick dash to the charity it is benefiting. Students will run to Riley and back – a round trip of one mile – for an invigorating blast of fresh air and to see what they are helping.
Candlelight ceremony: This event within Jagathon pays tribute to the young Riley patients who have passed away but impacted numerous people during their lives.
Strong finish: The late/early hours of Jagathon are filled with the Riley children’s talent show, live performances and lots of dancing before the final reveal of how much money was raised for pediatric research.
Philanthropic outreach and tradition fuel Jagathon
Walker first learned about Jagathon when members of the group visited her high school. Later, at her IUPUI orientation, she sought out the Jagathon table to get involved.
“The love has grown,” said the chemistry senior. “Hearing the stories from the Riley kids and their families and seeing the impact that Riley has on those families and the power of research – it’s all about impacting kids now and kids in the future.
“Jagathon promotes unity on campus. We’re one big family with one big, common purpose – to volunteer and give back. It’s really inspiring to me.”