Allison Martino: IUDM Media Chair

IUDM PR Chair Emily Blumberg (left), IUDM PR Director (middle) and IUDM Media Chair Allison Martino (right) at the 2014 Riley at the Rock

THE BASICS:Name or Nickname: My name's Allison Martino, although everyone calls me AlliYear & Age: Junior, 20Hometown: Hamden, CTMajor(s): Journalism; specializations in public relations, advertising and graphic design; concentration in event planningExtra Curricular Activities: Indiana University Public Relations Society of America (IUPRSSA) & Media Chair for the Indiana University Dance Marathon (IUDM) PR committeeSister, or Independent: IndependentDream Job: Crisis communications director for an airline

FAVES:Song: "Pompeii" by Bastille is my IUDM 2013 anthem. Whenever I hear the song, I always get a flashback to my favorite weekend of 2013. This year, pre-marathon, my song is "Heroes" by Alesso. It was in the 2014 IUDM promo video and is always a reminder that IUDM is right around the corner.Band/Artist: I'm a huge fan of The Kooks and Dave Matthews BandDance: I cannot dance to save my life and genuinely hate dancing, so the fact that I love IUDM is ironic - especially because the line dance is one of my favorite parts of the marathon.Dance Ensemble: I dance for 36 hours, so to say my dance ensemble changes a lot would be an understatement. Throughout the marathon there are different outfit themes per hour and I try to take part in most of them. When it's not a themed hour, I can typically be found in leggings or Nike running shorts, my colored IUDM committee t-shirt and sneakers.

Conner Sunday (left) holding Allison up - literally and mentally - during IUDM 2013

HCIU: How'd you get involved with IUDM?AM: I'm an out-of-state student who came to IU knowing no one. When I first moved into the dorms, I heard about an organization called "IUDM," but really had no clue what it was. In September, there was a RA who created a Northwest Dorms IUDM Team and I decided to join. I went to the call-out meeting and then raised the minimum $500 to dance. Although I raised the money, I still had no idea what the marathon actually entailed.

The girl who lived across the hall from me came knocking on my door and said she noticed I signed up to dance. We barely knew each other, but ended up talking about IUDM and going to another meeting together. At the marathon, we danced together, side-by-side, for 18 hours straight and, to this day, she is still one of my best friends in college. If it wasn't for her reaching out to me, I don't know if I ever would have actually gone to the marathon.

HCIU: How many years have you participated in IUDM?AM: I have danced in IUDM every year since I have been at IU. In 2012, I danced for 18 hours as a dancer. In 2013, I danced for 36 hours as a public relations committee member. This year I will be dancing for 36 hours as the media chair on the public relations comittee.

HCIU: What are your responsibilties as Media Chair?AM: My responsibilities as Media Chair differed throughout the semesters. In the beginning of the spring semester, I focused on building a close relationship with the 15 people I oversaw and tried to make them as connected to IUDM as possible before they went off for summer break. We wrote a few press releases and focused on creating the first IUDM Wikipedia page, which we are very proud of.

During the later part of the spring semester, I conceptualized and implemented the first cross-promotional campaign between the Indiana Daily Student (IDS) and IUDM. I spent weeks talking and planning with the director of PR for IDUM and the creative director for the IDS. The campaign successfully launched in the fall semester and will not end until the marathon is over. To this moment, with days leading up to the marathon, I stills pend most of my IUDM-time working on the campaign. The campaign rules and information can be found at iudm.org/idsraffle.

Some of the IUDM PR committee members at the IU soccer game earlier this year with two Riley Kids - Frankie and Zoe

HCIU: How'd you get the position as Media Chair?AM: Ever since I signed up to dance for 18 hours, I knew I wanted to become more involved with IUDM. My first year, I was a dancer; my second year, I was a committee member; and now, I am the chair of a subcommittee. I will never forget when an executive council member told me, "If you aren't trying to be better; do better; fundraise more, then you do not embody full spirit of IUDM." When he told me this, I realized that, no matter what, I needed to push myself regarding my position on the committee, fundraising and my relationships with the committee members.

HCIU: What's your favorite part about your executive position?AM: I have a few favorite parts about my position, but my absolute favorite is the relationships I have built from IUDM. My director and fellow chairs are some of my best friends on this campus and getting to spend hours with them every week, working toward a common goal, is a great reward. IUDM had introduced me to a group of selfless college students that share common interests with me.

As a chair, my biggest responsibility was setting an example to the 15 people I oversaw. I knew that, as their chair, I had to be a role model to them. I committed myself to attending every event; meeting; social, and I fundraised like crazy. I knew that I could not tell them to do something if I was not doing it myself and, because of this, the Media Committee has dominated in attendance, fundraising and involvement on the PR committee. Seeing the students I oversee excited about the marathon and eager to fundraise more and get to their goal is the best part about the position. I get to work with a group of students who would do anything FTK [for the kids].

HCIU: Can you describe any standout moments from IUDM?AM: Last year, with hours until the final reveal, a father came on stage and told his Riley Story. He talked about the adversity his family faced, but how they grew from it. I was tired, my feet hurt, my body ached; I had been standing up for 32 hours. Although I love the Riley Stories more than anything, I was drained at the moment. But then, this father said something that changed my whole outlook on why I do IUDM. He said, "There's a moment when being a part of this stops being an option." I immediately started crying and connected to his every word. He was right. I initially chose to dance for this cause in 2012, but then the cause chose me. It captured my heart at Indiana University, and I cannot imagine my college experience without it.

The 2014 IUDM PR Chairs, including Allison, at the 9th Annual IUDM Gala in Indianapolis

HCIU: What advice would you give dancers for surviving 18-36 hours of constant movement?AM: Dancing 36 hours is mentally, emotionally and physically draining. It's not an activity for the weak. My biggest advice would be to surround yourself with good friends, good food and a good mentality. Walk into the marathon excited and strong. Do not think about the actual hours, but rather why you're standing for a total of 18 or 36 hours. You're doing it in honor of those who cannot, which is one of the most selfless things you can do, in my opinion.

Other advice is to load up on food. Stay away from sweets and sugar, and focus more on carbs and actual meals. My favorite thing to do is order pizza or Noodles in the middle of the night; it always keeps me going.

HCIU: What suggestions would you give to those who are still trying to fundraise?AM: Fundraising does not end until two hours before the total reveal. My best advice, with so few days left until the marathon, is to send personal texts and calls to people from high school. Last night, my fellow chairs and I sent texts to anyone we could think of. I ended up raising [over] $100 from a group of people who I would never have expected to donate. If you don't ask, you won't receive - so just ask!