Thursday, December 30, 2010

Resolution: Get tested

Hey DMers! Hope everyone is having a fabulous winter break. Just a little update after World AIDS Day- because of limited resources and lots of interest, we had to turn away quite a few students from the free Rapid HIV Testing on the second day. However, the Community Service Center has put together this great list of free places to get tested around Boston!

Make it your New Year's Resolution to get tested! If you'd rather do it in the privacy of your own hometown, ask your physician to give you a test over break. And remember, you can always make an appointment at Student Health Services.

We at Dance Marathon are looking into hosting more Rapid Testing in the days leading up to DM in the Spring- Tweet at us/direct message us with any other suggestions! @BUDanceMarathon Have a safe, happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

World AIDS Day 2

As part of World AIDS Day last week, Dance Marathon hosted two speakers from one of our charities, Sasha and Jeffro from Camp Heartland. Mark, a former Camp Heartland camper, was unable to make it to Boston University that day, but his wife, Sasha, came to share their story.

Sasha and Jeffro were both counselors at Camp Heartland, a camp for children with or affected by HIV/AIDS. Camp Heartland provides kids with a place to go to feel comfortable and have fun in a safe environment. The camp is a place where kids don't have to worry about being judged- from what Sasha and Jeffro have told us, many campers don't share their condition with their friends at home, and the stigma against HIV is still alive and strong in the United States.

Sasha told us that her husband Mark was born with hemophilia, and he contracted HIV through a blood transfusion. He couldn't tell his community he was HIV positive as he was growing up, but after attending Camp Heartland and then becoming a counseler, be began to speak out against the stigma. Sasha met Mark on Camp Heartland's Journey of Hope AIDS Awareness Program, which is a bus tour around the country where campers visit schools, churches, universities and other community groups to share their stories. The Journey of Hope program aims to convey these messages:

1. AIDS is preventable
2. AIDS is not transmitted causally
3. All people with AIDS deserve compassion
4. Get tested

For more information about Journey of Hope, click here.

Jeffro shared with us a song of hope written by one camper he has worked with, and Sasha shared with us the ways her and Mark are trying to have a baby. Sasha told us about the ways she and Mark can help prevent their future child from contracting HIV, which include sperm washing (semen carries HIV, but sprem does not).

We learned so much from Sasha, Jeffro and Katie, a nurse from Boston who has worked at Camp Heartland and also came to speak with us. Thank you so much to them, and we hope everyone who attended learned as much as we did!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

World AIDS Day success!

World AIDS Day today was a fabulous success- we gave out ribbons and condoms in the GSU Link all day, sold goodies for our Bake Sale, and so many people showed up to get tested we had to tell them to come back tomorrow!

Here's DM's Michelle Markle with the official World AIDS Day shirts at BU:

The Community Service Center's Project Hope did a great job organizing an informational and collaborative event! And there's still more to come tomorrow.

But first, here are some things we talked about at the panel: The Face of AIDS in Boston.

--Different levels of progress in fighting AIDS among different populations in Boston
...Boston is a great city to be in if you are HIV positive, many resources
...prevention and outreach methods should be different in different communities
...members of a community reaching out to their own neighbors and friends is successfull

--The AIDS vaccine still a long way off
...we're taking small steps in the right direction

--Side effects of antiretroviral drugs can vary, but are horrible (vivid dreams, rashes, swelling of body fat, etc.)

--Making the HIV test more routine
...experts disagree
...making it more routine could remove the stigma?
...but counseling that accompanies the HIV test is CRUCIAL, and not something emergency rooms can perform

--The stigma against HIV positive population is still a HUGE problem
...learn more tomorrow with former Camp Heartland campers
...GSU Conference Auditorium, 7 pm

Dance Marathon at World AIDS Day!

Dance Marathon is at the GSU for World AIDS Day today! Come check out our bake sale and pick up an AIDS awareness ribbon!

Monday, November 29, 2010

World AIDS Day facts

World AIDS Day is this WEDNESDAY, DEC. 1, and Boston University has lots planned throughout the week. Starting Wednesday, we'll have a bunch of GSU link tables with red ribbons and free condoms! To raise awareness, the condoms will have facts printed on them:

-every 12 seconds, someone contracts HIV
-every 16 seconds, someone dies of HIV
-having an STD makes someone 5x more likely to contract HIV
-condoms can reduce the risk of HIV by 70-100%
-1 in 250 Americans have HIV
-HIV can be transmitted through oral, vaginal, and anal sex
-2/3 of college students do not consistently use condoms

Also, everyone should GET TESTED on the third floor of the GSU on Wednesday and Thursday from 1 pm to 4 pm. The testing is completely free and confidential. If you feel nervous about getting tested, check out the video we have of DMers getting tested themselves!

Finally, there are a few great events going on for those interested in learning about what living with HIV/AIDS is like in the US, how the epidemic is being fought worldwide and what you can do.


Documentary: The Lazarus Effect, a film depicting the effectiveness of antiretroviral drugs in Zambia. Sister Sheila, who works with HIV positive women in South Africa, will lead a discussion about HIV in developing countries following the film.
3:00-4:00 p.m.
Howard Thurman Center

Panel Discussion: The Face of AIDS In Boston. Panelists will discuss the social implications of living with the disease in one of the largest cities in the United States.
7:00-8:30 p.m.
Conference Auditorium

Candlelit Vigil: Remember those who have been lost throughout the years.
5:00 p.m.
Marsh Plaza


Spotlight Speaker: Mark, owner of a video production company and former camper at Camp Heartland, a summer camp for HIV positive youth, will be speaking about the struggles of living with HIV.
7:00-8:30 p.m.
Conference Auditorium

More Information about Mark:
As someone living with hemophilia, Hepatitis C, and HIV, the hardest thing for Mark was not being able to talk to anyone, afraid of what people would think and losing friends. He gained the courage to speak about his experiences as a camper then a counselor at Camp Heartland, one of Dance Marathon's charities for kids with or affected by HIV/AIDS.

He has since started his own video production company, Markie Z Productions. He also works full time for AHF, a homecare pharmacy for hemophiliacs and people who are immune-compromised.See More

Sunday, November 28, 2010

World AIDS Day 2010 is right around the corner...

Hey DMers!

We wanted to give a quick shout out to one of our BU rockstars Amey Owen! We recently got a chance to read through her blog, which discusses real world issues and ways to volunteer in the city of Boston! This week her article was about World AIDS Day 2010 and we definitely encourage everyone to check it out and see what she has to say: Magnitude

To find out what events are going on around campus this week check out the facebook event: World AIDS Day Events at BU - wear red!

And last but not least don't forget to WEAR RED on December 1st!

DM Love,

Steph, Maggie, & Eric

PS- For all you social media lovers on twitter use the hashtag #WorldAidsDay and #wearred to promote AIDS awareness!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mother to child transmission eliminated in 4 years?!

The media reported today several important developments in the fight against global HIV/AIDS.

First, Pope Benedict XVI announced that using condoms to prevent HIV transmission was a lesser evil than preventing a possible pregnancy, a significant change from his previous statements that AIDS could not be cured with condom use. The Associated Press reports that this may encourage more people worldwide to use condoms.

Second, The Boston Globe reported a new study shows men may prevent contracting HIV from taking a daily oral antiretroviral pill.

Also in the AP article:

"UNAIDS on Tuesday announced a nearly 20 percent drop in new HIV infections around the world over the past decade -- largely due to increased condom use."

"The report also noted the success of efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus, and said it could be virtually eliminated by 2015."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Getting tested for World AIDS Day

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Why is awareness important?

The New York Times published a page one story yesterday about the stigma and health challenges kids growing up with HIV today are still facing. The article emphasizes just how important awareness is- a theme that will be addressed in our speaker event on Dec. 2, with two individuals living with HIV.

Here's an excerpt that shows what's happening right near Boston:

Medication is not the problem for Elizabeth. Eighteen, white, from a wealthy Massachusetts suburb, she has been ostracized and tormented, “ ‘H.I.V. slut’ being yelled across the hallway, anything you can think of,” she said.

Elizabeth did not know she had H.I.V. until the age of 14, when her parents and physician appeared at her therapist’s appointment and told her.

“I couldn’t speak or really breathe,” said Elizabeth, whose mother was infected through a blood transfusion before she was born.

Read the article here.

Dance Marathon will be hosting Mark and Terrance, two individuals living with HIV, as they speak about their experiences for World AIDS Day on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. in the GSU Conference Auditorium.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

150 Days Till Departure Celebration!

Our first big event of the year, 150 Days Till Departure Celebration, was so successful! DM camped out in BU Central this afternoon, chowing down on Upper Crust and T Anthony's and basically spreading the love around... the usual. Check out some photos from the event:

Emily Shapiro, our Morale chair, getting ready to register teams, dancers and moralers!

Hey, Community Service Center, thanks for stopping by!

Look at all the cards we made for Camp Heartland campers! We love you!

Great performance of "Rent" by BU on Broadway! Check them out at our main event, DANCE MARATHON, on April 2-3!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Parents Weekend Cheat Sheet

This Friday, Dance Marathon will be in the GSU Ziskind Lounge for Parents Weekend check-in! We have a ton of exciting activities going on that you certainly won't want to miss such as a fun informational video with a response board, a map showing the status of HIV/AIDS worldwide, and a trivia game. If you make it to check-in with your parents, read up on some of the basic DM info below. Then, maybe you can win a prize for Mom and Dad!
  • Dance Marathon raises money for pediatric HIV/AIDS research and education.
  • We dance for 18 hours.
  • The HIV/AIDS ribbon is red.
  • Elizabeth Glaser founded the Elisabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) after contracting HIV in 1981 from a blood transfusion and unknowingly passing the disease along to her son and daughter.
  • EGPAF has more treatment and prevention sites in Africa than on any other continent.
  • Basketball star Magic Johnson credits Elizabeth Glaser for encourging him to speak out about HIV.
  • Children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS don't pay anything to attend Camp Heartland. It costs the camp, however, $3,000 in fundraiser per camper.
  • The United Nations has designated "fight global HIV/AIDS" as one of its Millenium Development Goals. There will be a special discussion about the Millenium Development Goals for Parents Weekend from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday at the GSU.
Parents Weekend check-in will take place at the GSU at 775 Commonwealth Ave in the Ziskind Lounge on the 2nd floor this Friday from 11am to 7 p.m. Have fun with your parents this weekend!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dance Marathon does Drag!

Last night, Dance Marathon attended Spectrum's annual Drag Ball. This year's theme was Monster Drag Ball: Show Us Your Teeth. Appropriately, we donned zombie-like DM shirts, covered ourselves in fake blood and partied with the lovely ladies and gents in attendance. Here are some highlights:

Lovely DMers with Justin Touchette, Co-President of Spectrum and Drag Ball organizer.

Dean Elmore drops by.

Our free condoms!

We had a great time, thanks Spectrum for inviting us, we hope to be a part of it again next year!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Drag Ball and Fact of the Week

Dance Marathon is proud to be supporting BU Spectrum's Monster Drag Ball this Friday! The event for the LGBT community and friends will be hosted by Marc by Marc Jacobs and is Lady Gaga/zombie themed. We'll have a table with free condoms and info about Dance Marathon, so be sure to stop by and say hello!


Friday, Oct. 15
10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Metcalf Ballroom at the GSU, 775 Commonwealth Ave.

Check out the Facebook event here!

Did you know?

"...notifications of new HIV diagnoses among homosexual men have increased, mostly since the late 1990s. The rate of increase varied, but exceeded 50 percent in many countries. Trends in direct measures of HIV incidence in homosexual men were rare, and increases in HIV testing may explain the increases in many nations. Even so, several clinic- and community-based cohort studies in Europe and North America reported increasing incidence."

-a 2008 study published on

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fact of the week: American children

Did you know?

Nearly 16,000 American children under 19 are living with AIDS. That's almost the whole undergraduate population of Boston University.

Some people may think pediatric HIV/AIDS is eliminated in the United States. While breakthroughs in research have significantly reduced the number of mother-to-child transmissions of HIV in the U.S. in the past 20 years, and treatments have allowed HIV-positive children to live longer and healthier lives, there are still children across the country living with the disease.

Our two causes, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and One Heartland, have had a huge impact on reducing the number of new infections and raising awareness throughout the country.

One Heartland has camps in Willow River, Minnestoa, New York City, Malibu, California and Minneapolis to provide children and families affected by HIV and AIDS with healthy environments for personal growth and social development. Surveys have shown that campers who attended camp longer were significantly more likely to accept HIV/AIDS as part of their life.

All the services One Heartland provides each camper for a week of camp and year-long support costs $3,000. The families that send their children to camp are required to pay nothing. Fundraisers like Dance Marathon make this happen.

At Dance Marathon, we hold a special place in our hearts for the campers who have shared their stories with us every year.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Hey DMers!

Thank you to everyone who came out on Thursday, September 30th to support our dough fundraiser at Uno's Chicago Grill in Kenmore Square. We had a great turn out and it seemed like everyone had a fun time and enjoyed their delicious meals, and even more delicious desserts.. I don't know about you, but I could personally eat that cookie thing for the rest of my life!

We hope you all had a good time and again thank you so much for all of your support! Also a big thanks to Uno's & all of the staff at Uno's in Kenmore for collaborating with us on the event! Check out some pictures from Thursday night below and if you have any pictures from Uno's on Facebook please tag Dance Marathon in them!

DM Love,

Steph, Maggie, Eric
2011 Overall Chairs

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fact of the Week: $15 prevents transmission

Did you know?

It costs just $15 to reach one woman with the services she needs to prevent HIV transmission to her child.

Most (90 percent) of the children infected with HIV every day receive the virus from their mothers. Half of these children die before their second birthdays because they do not have access to the treatment they need.

Two ways HIV/AIDS can be prevented include mother to unborn baby and through breast milk.

Organizations like the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, one of the causes we raise money for, works to prevent mother-to-child transmission in several ways.

1. EGPAF tests pregnant women for HIV and counsels them to make sure they have access to prevention, care and safe treatment.
2. They provide antiretroviral medicines to women who test HIV-positive and their babies to reduce the risk of transmission.
3. EGPAF also provides these services to breastfeeding mothers.

For about the same price as a meal at the BU dining hall, you can save one child from receiving HIV from his or her mother.

Click here to learn more about EGPAF's transmission prevention program.

Monday, September 13, 2010

"Around the World in 18 Hours!"

Yesterday, we had the DM11' Chair Retreat and we're all so excited to bring you the best Dance Marathon that Boston University has seen! It was such a great bonding experience, but we also jumped right into getting everyone on track and generating new ideas for the upcoming Dance Marathon. All the chairs are definitely ready to work hard to make DM11' a success. Not to mention, we were really surprised by all the creative ideas and input that the chairs had about different fundraisers and entertainment!

Aside from the great progress of the retreat, we wanted to give a special thank you to Rachel Hinger from the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and Lena from One Heartland for stopping by and sharing their stories about their organizations and experiences. We appreciate all the advice they have given us and it was great to meet both of them! We look forward to seeing them in the near future!

Finally, the most exciting news is that we've chosen the theme for DM11'! After much consideration, we decided it would be "Around the World in 18 Hours!" That means we'll be taking you on a trip to different countries to experience the various cultures of the world. Because Pediatric HIV/AIDS is affecting numerous children across the globe, we wanted to bring everyone together for a night of celebrating and unity for one great cause! So pack your bags and come with us on an 18-hour journey that you'll never forget!

Check out some pictures of us brainstorming new ideas at the retreat!

DM Love,
Steph, Maggie, & Eric

Friday, September 3, 2010

We're Already Making a SPLASH!

To all the freshmen, welcome to the BU community! We held a table at SPLASH earlier this week and it went really well! Thank you to everyone who helped make it such a success. We were excited to see all the new, eager faces and we definitely hope all of you will be attending Dance Marathon 11' in the spring. We received numerous contacts and emails from a lot of interested people so we have a feeling this year is going to be BIG! We'll email everyone who signed up in a couple of days so get ready to hear from us!

Until then, you guys still have a chance to sign up on our contact list by sending us an email to or come check us out at the Student Activities Expo on September 15, 2010 from 3-7PM. We'll be handing out our infamous condoms labeled with "I can do it for 18 hours" and also some free t-shirts!

Keep the emails coming!

Steph, Maggie, & Eric

Friday, August 6, 2010


So what's our big change for DM2011?

As you may know, in the past we've always had teams of 8 or more dancers as well as individual dancers. Well this year we're keeping the teams of 8 or more, but we're also creating teams for individual dancers!

Anyone who signs up on their own will be placed on a team with other individual dancers and will have one of our team captains - Katie & Becca are two of our team captains right now! - as their team captain! The dancer teams will then get together a few times before DM to plan out outfits for theme hours and anything else they may want to bring!

We still welcome you to sign up with 8 or more of your friends and have your own team! Or to come for a few hours as a moraler to support all of our dancers!

But what happens if you want to sign up with just one or two of your friends? No worries! We will put you all on the same team of individual dancers!

There will be a lot more team competitions this year so get ready!

See you at Splash on August 29th!

Steph, Maggie, & Eric
DM Overall Chairs

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Drum Roll Please....

Hey DMers!
We know it's been a while since our last post! We've been busy doing some behind-the-scenes work in order to get everything ready for September, but more importantly for BU's SPLASH on August 29th! For those of you who aren't familiar with the event, Splash is Boston University's biggest activities expo that takes place every year after freshmen matriculation. This year Splash will be on Sunday the 29th at 2pm at Nickerson Field so be sure to stop by our table and check out what we've been working on- trust us, you won't want to miss our giveaways!

In other news we also wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to the whole crew!
Here are our Dance Marathon 2011 Chairs:
Jen Aller - Dancer Relations
Michelle Markle - Dancer Relations
Katrina Ballard - Charity Relations & Education
Emily Shapero - Morale & Volunteer
Lissette Martinez - Entertainment
Brian Bornstein - Finance
Maggie Tittler - Fundraising
Nicole Warren - Fundraising
Danielle Letayf - Operations
Laura Hennemuth - Public Relations & Advertising
Riz Seeham - Web & Social Media and Public Relations & Advertising
Lindsay Vozar - Sponsorship
Laura Leahy - Sponsorship

We also want to welcome our two new Team Captains Becca Crossen and Katie Aller. This position is brand new this year and we'll be blogging about it later in the week to let you know what one of our big changes for DM is going to be so check back soon!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Show 'em some love

Hey DMers!

First off thanks to everyone who applied to be a chair for DM2011, we're currently reviewing the applications and will be scheduling interviews shortly.

We also just wanted to encourage everyone to take just 30 seconds to vote for Fighting Friday to open for KISS. Fighting Friday is one of our favorite bands at DM. They've performed almost every year (previously as Moonshine) and have been so encouraging during our 18 hours of dancing. The energy their band gives off is a HUGE motivation right about half way through the night. So if you have just a minute, do them a favor, show them some DM love and Click here to vote. Also if you want to check out their new promo video so you can remember just how awesome they were here's the link: Fighting Friday Promo Video



Steph, Maggie, & Eric

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

You know you want a DM11 Chair!

Now that Memorial Day has passed, it is officially summer and beach season. Before you start working on your tan this weekend, we think that you should all fill out a Dance Marathon Chair application! We know how busy finals, moving, and starting new internships and jobs can be, which is why we've extended the 2011 Dance Marathon application deadline another week! The new deadline is Monday, June 7th, 2010. We have been brainstorming up some great ideas for next year, but we need your help! To find out more information about BUDM, visit the website at

We've been updating it recently so there is new information about what happens at Dance Marathon as well as a link to download the chair applications. Of course if you have any questions at all, please email us at and we will be more than happy to provide more info!

We hope to hear from you soon!!

Steph, Maggie & Eric

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Volunteering at Camp Heartland

Hey DMers!

We recently received an e-mail from Elisa Adair at One Heartland letting us know about opportunities to volunteer at Camp Heartland this summer. We've posted the Summer Volunteer Application on our website at but it's also available on the One Heartland website
If you are interested in getting involved all you have to do is fill out the form and turn it in.

Here's a little message from Elise about camp:
We’d love to have each and every one of you see how your hard work pays off for children impacted by HIV/AIDS at Camp this summer. I’ll be sure to send you all a bunch of pictures too so anyone who can’t make it can check them out.

Hope everyone's off to a sweet summer so far!
Steph, Maggie & Eric

Friday, April 30, 2010

Chair Applications

Hey everyone!!

Wow!! It seems like Dance Marathon 2010 has just ended, but we are already planning DANCE MARATHON 2011!!!! And we want your help! If you don't already know us, we're Steph, Maggie, & Eric - and we are the overall chairs for the upcoming year. We couldn't be more excited!

Dance Marathon is the largest fundraiser at Boston University and we have big plans to make next year even bigger and better! We certainly can't do this alone, and would like to invite you to become a DANCE MARATHON CHAIR.

Dance Marathon will be held on Saturday, April 2nd and Sunday April 3rd, 2011 and we're looking for dedicated DMers such as you to help us put together the best Dance Marathon BU has ever seen! To find out more about our DM2011 Chair Application please e-mail us at


Steph Gonzalez, Maggie Abbate, & Eric Si