Strato Doumanis has been a part of Dance Marathon at Rutgers since he was a student there more than a decade ago.
He has seen it grow from an event that raises $100,000 to more than a $1 million for the New Brunswick-based nonprofit Embrace Kids Foundation.
And as the co-founder and chief technical officer at Hurricane Productions, he’s contributed to the student-run event with a whole host of assistance, everything ranging from audio visuals to lighting and promotion.
That’s why he was determined to help the event go on — which it will Saturday.
It’s just going virtual at www.rudmlive.com.
“By February, we realize we wouldn’t be able to run this as a live event, but it was too important to cancel,” he told ROI-NJ. “So, we started having discussions with the student-run board of directors about how we can do something to help this great cause, and we came up with a live virtual event.”
Doumanis said the event, which runs from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, will go as follows.
“It will be a live webinar that will include addresses from the director of Embrace Kids Foundation and addresses from deans at Rutgers. Mixed in between will be fundraiser videos, videos that explain the fundraising efforts the students did throughout the year.”
Doumanis, however, wanted to do more to bring in alums of the event, so the webinar will include highlights from past events.
“We’ll go back a dozen years and play best of videos so we can engage alums online who have had the dance marathon,” he said. “So, we’re bringing them into the webinar to raise awareness and hopefully raise money.”
The event benefits Embrace Kids Foundation, which supports the nonmedical needs of families who have children with cancer and blood disorders.
Fortunately, the event is a 365-day fundraising event. So, approximately half of the money already has been raised. Doumanis, however, knows the cause was too important to stop there. In addition, he wanted to make sure the students — many participating in a fundraising effort for the first time — would get to see the impact they can have.
Dance Marathon, he said, helps create the next generation of community supporters.
“This is mainly a student-run event, so when all this type of cancellations came about, it really was rough to stomach for everybody involved,” he said. “It’s important for the students to have the opportunity to celebrate all the work they do all year long to see how it literally pays off in the end.”
The event will conclude at 9 p.m. with a Facebook Live recap of the year’s efforts — and then a virtual total reveal where the board members announce how much money is raised.
“It’s the highlight of every Dance Marathon,” Doumanis said. “This year, it will just be done virtually.”