March Madness dance competition makes impact for local families
Chi Omega hosted its 42nd annual March Madness dance competition April 14 to raise money for the Make-A-Wish foundation.
This year’s theme was “Night at the Cinema.” Each Greek organization chose a movie and performed a dance based on the film. Performances were judged on use of theme, choreography, creativity, visual appeal, and enthusiasm. Chi Omega has a panel of judges made up of individuals within Illinois State, the Bloomington-Normal community, and Make-A-Wish to determine the winners.
Delta Zeta took home first place for sororities. Alpha Gamma Delta placed second and Zeta Tau Alpha placed third. As for fraternities, ACACIA took home first place, Alpha Sigma Phi placed second, and Sigma Nu placed third. All organizations that place receive a donation toward their own philanthropy.
The event is usually held in March, but a venue change led to the date falling in April. Due to high demand for tickets, Chi Omega chose to move the event to Redbird Arena for the first time ever. Approximately 3,850 tickets were sold, which is about 400 more than last year.
The proceeds from ticket sales support families like the Stiffs. Melissa Stiff spoke to the crowd at Redbird Arena to express her gratitude to Make-A-Wish and those who support it at the event.
Stiff is the mother of triplets. One of her children, Lachlan, was born with health complications. The thought of going on a family trip with the medical equipment Lachlan needs felt impossible. Make-A-Wish became involved with the family and granted Lachlan one wish. The organization sent the entire family to Walt Disney World, all expenses paid.
March Madness emcee Dana Bezanis said stories like Lachlan’s are why March Madness is such an important campus event.
“March Madness brings unity among Greek life here at Illinois State to work together in raising donations for such a wonderful cause,” Bezanis said. “This production strengthens the idea that when you stumble, make it apart of the dance.”
Chicago Cubs tickets, autographed Chicago Blackhawks gear, and other merchandise were auctioned during intermission to raise more funds. Last year, the event raised $50,000. This year’s amount is still being counted but is expected to exceed 2017’s total due to increased attendance.
“I know that we set the event up for future success allowing more family members, friends, and community members to attend,” March Madness Chairwoman Shania Scurlock said. “Being able to work with Make-A-Wish, Lachlan, and his family, and the entire Greek community is truly a humbling and rewarding moment.”