Austin Wilson, a senior at UK and one of The Study’s Student Program Coordinators, sat down for an interview to give an inside perspective of DanceBlue. As a current member of the Family Relations Committee, Austin has been involved with DanceBlue since his freshman year of college when he volunteered to be a dancer in his fraternity, FarmHouse. From there, he went on to become the fraternity’s team captain during his sophomore and junior years, and finally found his way onto the DanceBlue Family Relations Committee his senior year.
Q: How has DanceBlue affected you?
A: It’s such a rewarding experience. When I first came to UK, I didn’t donate much of my time to service or volunteering. DanceBlue served as a kind of gateway for me to become more involved, and now I want to give back to the community as much as I can.
Q: How would you describe DanceBlue to a freshman?
A: DanceBlue is the largest philanthropy event in the SEC and has raised more than $2 million in the six years it has been running. It’s a great time dancing with other students who care, but also is very beneficial to get involved in. It raises funds for pediatric cancer and families affected by it.
Q: What would you tell someone who is considering participating in DanceBlue?
A: Don’t be hesitant just because you might not know anyone else participating. You will meet people through DanceBlue – other dancers, morale leaders, etc. I met so many people my first year, many who have since graduated and we still keep in touch. Any doubts? Just ask somebody. There are so many people involved who can tell you more.
Q: How much time/preparation goes into DanceBlue?
A: Well everyone has a different part in DanceBlue, and so much more goes into it than just the actual event. Dancers raise money and participate in canning. Teams hold restaurant nights to fundraise. Leading up to the event, there is a lot of preparation. For the past four Sundays, we’ve held workdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., just getting things ready. During the semesters, committee members attend meetings every other Thursday, but different committees have different ways of involvement throughout the year. I volunteer in the hospital a day per week.
Q: What’s it like working with the kids?
A: On average, dancers don’t get to. However, as a member of the Family Relations Committee, that’s the best part. You get to see what your hard work goes toward. You can’t tell they’re sick. They’re regular kids with cheerful and upbeat families. Getting to help them directly and to see the gratitude they show is very rewarding.
DanceBlue 2012 will take place in Memorial Coliseum this Friday and Saturday, March 2 and 3, from 8 p.m. to 8 p.m. Everyone in the UK community should come experience this life-changing event. It is truly inspiring to see not only the immense student support, but also the excitement of the kids and families as well. One thing is certain, the energy and enthusiasm of DanceBlue is easily spread to all who partake and witness it.
Go to www.DanceBlue.org to learn more about the cause and to find out how you can help!