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HuskyTHON donations received 2023
HuskyTHON donations received 2023
Original photo by Bailey Brake

HuskyTHON At UConn & How You Can Get Involved

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

When asking a student at UConn what makes our school special, a variety of answers could be given. Some would mention basketball games in Gampel Pavilion, cold weather filled with snow and the occasional wind tunnel, or even our mascot Jonathan the Husky. If you were to ask me what I thought made UConn special, HuskyTHON would be my answer without a doubt. HuskyTHON is UConn’s year-long fundraiser that culminates in an 18-hour dance marathon. Held in the spring semester every year, HuskyTHON strives to raise money for Connecticut Children’s, a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. At the beginning of my freshman year, I had no idea what HuskyTHON was, but after participating last year it truly changed my life forever. If you are unsure about HuskyTHON and want to get involved or just learn more, this article is for you.

The history of Huskython

HuskyTHON donations received 2023
Original photo by Bailey Brake

HuskyTHON was started in 1999 with 2000 being the first official dancing year. The idea was originated by UConn’s Greek community as a way to hold a school-wide philanthropic event that every student could participate in while also helping an important cause. In 2000, $13,878.00 was raised for Connecticut Children’s, kicking off the initiative with a bang. 23 years later this past March, that number has risen to 1.48 million dollars with over 3,973 participants and 82 teams. The efforts for HuskyTHON have truly grown and continue to get bigger each year. With the help of even more students, it will continue to have exponential growth.

Registration And How to Fundraise

To get started in your HuskyTHON career, you are going to want to visit Huskython’s website and press the “click here” button to register. If you are a returning dancer, you will be asked to log into your account and will be brought through steps to register from there. If you are a new dancer, you will create an account and registration will follow. You will be asked a collection of simple questions, the most important being what type of participant you are registering as. If you are registering for the first time or do not have a leadership role within HuskyTHON like Morale Captain, Volunteer, or Dancer Representative, you will select Storrs Participant. The video above also gives you a step-by-step guide if you need additional assistance.

You will also be asked if you want to join or create a team. If you are a part of a club or organization at UConn that has its own HuskyTHON team, you can join at this point in registering. All you have to do is look up the club name, and if their team has been set up, it will pop up and you will be registered as a team member for that organization. If you are part of a club that does not have a team just yet, try to encourage the club to create their own team! Being a part of a team shows how much you all have raised collectively, which is so cool and amazing to see at the end.

Registering for HuskyTHON comes with a 10-dollar registration fee, but this money goes directly to the hospital and your fundraising goal, so you start with $10 already towards your goal. Once you are done answering the questions, you have registered and are set up with your very own Donor Drive! Your Donor Drive is your own personal page to help promote and raise money for your HuskyTHON efforts that you can customize with pictures, words of encouragement, and incentives for your donors. It is important to set a personal fundraising goal for yourself of how much money you will try to raise for the year. Along with your personal goal, every participant type for HuskyTHON has a minimum goal they must reach to receive their food band and HuskyTHON 2024 T-Shirt. The Instagram slides below show all the goals depending on what kind of participant you are. Follow @huskython on Instagram for more helpful infographics just like this one.

Now for Fundraising! There are numerous ways to fundraise for HuskyTHON that make that $250 minimum an easy destination. Here’s a list of some things dancers usually do to reach their goals:

  • Create a Facebook fundraiser and ask close friends and family for their support
  • Sell your old clothes on Depop or HuskyThrift (HuskyTHON’s own thrift store accepting any old UConn merchandise, drop off located in Student Union room 216)
  • Email old teachers, coaches, and mentors from your high school to spread the word
  • Go canning* with your friends at a local grocery or convenience store *Canning: setting up in front of a store to collect money in a jar for Huskython, usually a location in Connecticut
  • Sell something that you’ve made — crochet and knitted projects, jewelry, or clothes are popular options
  • Participate in Push Days, which are big fundraising days where you promote HuskyTHON on your social media and ask for donations from the people you know best!
  • Ask a local restaurant or store if they will allow you to put out a Cash Register Can that shoppers can put money in to donate. You will collect this money on a timely basis to put into your Donor Drive
  • Collect your old cans and metal bottles to exchange for cash to donate to your Donor Drive

Night-of & What to Expect:

HuskyTHON will be held in March 2024 on a Saturday and will begin at six a.m. and end at Midnight. I know this sounds incredibly long, but there is tons of fun stuff to do to make the hours go by fast! At the top of every hour, the Morale Mix will play. This is a mash-up of inspirational and fun songs that has a choreographed dance that goes along with it that the Morale Captains (my role in HuskyTHON!) have been practicing all year long. All of the students will welcome each miracle child and their families at the beginning of the event, and each individual miracle child’s story will be told throughout the night. During each hour, there will be different activities, like early morning yoga, talent shows, scavenger hunts, and performances by singers and entertainers. There will be opportunities to play a variety of games with your friends and their miracle children, which is one of the most rewarding feelings ever. Expect a ton of merch being sold, as well as vendors like DP Dough and Dunkin Donuts giving out free food and prizes. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are also served to all dancers. There is even a napping station if you are feeling tired and need to recharge. The endless entertainment factor helps make the 18 hours go by in the blink of an eye.

Why I Dance:

Everyone who participates in HuksyTHON has a “why,” or a core reason they decide to dance and support this year-long initiative. I have several reasons that remind me why I continue to fundraise and fight for Connecticut Children’s. Throughout my life, I was surrounded by fundraisers conducted by my family members, but mainly by my mom. My mom, Judith Andruzzi-Brake, is the biggest philanthropist I know and is constantly giving to everyone and everything. As a child, my mom taught us to donate through bigger efforts such as walking for March of Dimes every year and selling lemonade and baked goods for Alex’s Lemonade Foundation and small ways like bringing our old clothes to Goodwill or participating in our school fundraisers. One of the key morals my mother instilled in me was that it never hurts to give back to those who need it most. I am constantly reminded of the times in my life when people helped me.

I was born in November 2003 at 3lbs 5 ounces, two months before my due date, making me a premature baby. With this early birth came complications; I could not breathe on my own and had to be hooked up to a respiratory machine, I had a tumor on my head and was born with two extra fingers. Because of my health problems, I had to stay in the NICU for a month before coming home to my parents in December. Luckily enough, the nurses and support system at the hospital were there for me every step of the way and saved my life so I could go home. I was monitored continually throughout the beginning stages of my life to make sure everything in my body developed correctly, and fortunately, everything did. I am constantly reminded by my parents and family of the miracle I was to them and how lucky I am to be the healthy, growing woman I am today. For me, HuskyTHON hits home and brings up tons of emotions. My “why” can be as simple as the fact that giving to others brings me joy, but also as complicated as the fact that I was once a miracle child as well. I encourage you all to find your “why” throughout the year and identify what supporting these children and their families means to you. Having a “why” makes the process so much more meaningful and impactful.

what are you waiting for?

After hearing about HuskyTHON and what an amazing organization it is, I am sure you are eager to start your journey! There is no better way to support an important cause, gain some community service experience, and feel good about yourself as a UConn student than by joining HuskyTHON. I hope to see you all in March 2024 dancing for the future of the miracle children and their families!

Three girls smiling
Original photo by Bailey Brake
Bailey Brake

U Conn '26

Bailey Brake is a sophomore at the University of Connecticut serving as Huskython Chair and Secretary for HerCampus UConn. Her love for writing, reading, and speaking originated when she joined a competitive public speaking organization at the age of 7. Since then, the art of words and diction and how they can influence others has been her passion. When she is not writing for HerCampus, she spends her time at UConn being a tour guide for incoming and prospective students. She also participates in Huskython -an 18-hour dance marathon raising money for Connecticut's Children's Hospital- as a morale dancer. She is currently double majoring in political science and human rights and hopes to make a difference in this world for the communities that need it. In her spare time, Bailey enjoys baking, listening to Taylor Swift, dancing, and a good debrief session with her friends. There is always time for a shopping trip, car ride jam sesh, and ice cream stop in Bailey's schedule.