Feb. 28, 2023 — On Feb. 22, students from Dance Marathon at the University of Florida flitted around campus, delivering boxes upon boxes of pizza to faculty and staff in several colleges across the university. At the academic health center, they stopped by the faculty lounge to ensure physicians, researchers and others in the health care field were fueled with food to make it through a busy afternoon caring for patients and making discoveries to impact the future of medicine.
The Faculty Appreciation Day initiative, which began in 2022, aims to show gratitude for the faculty and staff who put in long hours inside and outside the classroom throughout the academic year to support students in their professional goals, their personal growth and their extracurricular passions — including participating in Dance Marathon at UF, a yearlong student-run organization that raises funds for medical research and lifesaving equipment. The goal of the group is to increase awareness surrounding pediatric illness and support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and its local affiliate hospital, UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital.
Students reached out to all 16 colleges across campus and delivered lunches to the College of Journalism and Communications, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the College of Medicine, where the mission of their organization is intimately understood.
“A lot of our members are involved in the health care field, so it’s a cause that is close to our hearts,” said Brandon White, the 2022-23 recruitment overall director for Dance Marathon at UF. “Faculty and staff at the College of Medicine work hard to help us not only get an education but also to help us change children’s lives and try to help end pediatric illness. Being so close to the hospital, our coursework and our volunteer work blends together.”
Next, faculty across UF’s campus can be on the lookout for a special invitation to the Dance Marathon at UF Main Event, taking place April 1-2 in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Every year, hundreds of student dancers stay awake and on their feet for 26.2 hours, which represents the number of miles in a traditional marathon. As the hours pass, attendees stay motivated by doing choreographed dances, playing games and hearing from families whose lives have been affected by UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital.
“The selflessness of our faculty is amazing, and I am delighted to see that they are being recognized for it,” said Mark Segal, M.D., Ph.D., the senior associate dean for faculty affairs and professional development at the College of Medicine. “Every day, faculty give their time and intellect to make the lives of patients better. It is wonderful to see that this generosity also extends to charitable giving for initiatives such as Dance Marathon.”