Annual dance-off raises funds for multiple sclerosis


Meghan Hayman

Delta Tau Delta performs the macarena during their performance for SAMs in Shafer Auditorium on Thursday March 10, 2016. DTD and Delta Delta Delta won the event.

SAMs, students for the awareness of multiple sclerosis, took place in Shafer Auditorium on Thursday, March 10 to raise money for those who suffer from the disease.

SAMs unites a variety of campus groups and organizations to compete in a lip-syncing, student-run, dance-off and is hosted by the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council.

The judges for this year include Brian Saltsman, interim director of CIASS and assistant professor of black studies, John Golden, associate professor of economics, and Yvonne Longstreth, a faculty member of Allegheny for more than 30 years and campus icon.  Jake Gordon, ’16, public relations chair for IFC, and Jess Yohe, ’18, vice president of public relations for Panhel, were the announcers for the event.

The money goes to an organization that helps fund research to find a cure for multiple sclerosis.  According to Merrick Madden, ’17, president of IFC, in the past, IFC and Panhel have struggled with the money not going to proper research organizations.  This year all funds raised will be donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Organization, said Yohe.

Maddie Meehan, ’17, president of Panhel, said the preparation and fundraising for SAMs is a week-long event for all of those participating.

“Before SAMs we table in the campus center to sell announcements that people can give for friends in the competition, and we also dorm storm to collect donations,” Meehan said.

Greek life is involved in the event every year, as well as other organizations.  This year, in addition to those groups, the Allegheny Cheerleading Club also competed.  Madden said that each group and organization puts in various amounts of effort into preparing for the competition. Madden said that some of the groups and organizations start practicing right when students return from winter break, making sure to practice for several hours a week.  Other groups, he said, practice for just a few days right before the event because their main concern is to have fun and to raise money for a good cause.

“My goal is to bring the different groups together,” Madden said. “I’d be lying to say there wasn’t a divide among the groups on campus.”

Gordon said that there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes of the event.  He said that the event would not have been possible without Yohe, who planned the event this year.

Yohe said she, along with Gordon, worked together to plan every aspect of the fundraiser.

“Some of the specifics [for planning the event] include getting together raffle baskets from businesses in town who donated an unbelievable amount of certificates and gift cards, reaching out to faculty and staff on campus to pick judges, and also making sure the organizations participating understood what the whole event was for,” Yohe said.

Gordon said it was his first time doing the behind the scenes work.  As the public relations chair of IFC, his job is to promote the event and to get as many students and organizations involved as possible.

“Public relations [positions] takes the responsibility of the event,” Gordon said.  “It’s like your job for the entire semester.”

This year the winners of SAMs were Delta Tau Delta and Delta Delta Delta.