Rutgers Dance Marathon raised over $500,000 for the Embrace Kids Foundation this year, a feat that could not be attained without the collective effort of countless individuals. For me, participating in Dance Marathon really gave me the opportunity to reflect on servant leadership and its significance.
One of the things that servant leadership requires you to do is to let go of self-importance and instead focus on a cause that is bigger than yourself. I think that is one of the biggest issues that student leaders have, is not allowing your ego to focus on yourself, but those around you and the community you are looking to serve.
Being able to participate in Dance Marathon showed me a perspective of selflessness that I had never seen in that capacity. For one reason or another, every participant of Dance Marathon chose to serve, be it for the fight against cancer or for a family or person they were supporting. My fraternity participated in Dance Marathon to support Joey DePalma and his family in his fight against leukemia.
It was a great feeling to know that our contributions and donations to Embrace Kids was helping the many people affected by Cancer. Even more tremendous was being able to see how many organizations and people were down for the same cause. Although many organizations at Rutgers may be separate, there was a sense of inclusivity that I think everyone felt regardless of what group they may have belonged to.
It wasn’t just about who raised the most money, or who had the most members from their organization dance the 32 hours, it was about collectively working towards the same mission. I feel that anyone who danced the full 32 hours can mutually agree that it was a tremendous honor to support the cause.
Serving in such a huge philanthropy event such as this, emphasizes the value of collective effort, and represents a key component of “servant leadership.” For next year it won’t just be a question of me participating in Dance Marathon, it will be a question of how many people can I encourage to experience the benefits of such a contribution with me.