UADM to rebrand, emphasize focus on community


CW File

UADM raised $248,796.19 in 2019, which went directly to the Children’s Hospital of Alabama.

Olivia Davis | @oliviadavis0, Contributing Writer

The largest student-run philanthropy at the University of Alabama now has a new name for its record-breaking, high-energy fundraising event: BAMAthon. 

“We wanted to make this change to give our campus a better understanding of what our event is and align it with our school spirit,” said Lily Klootwyk, 2020 president of the University of Alabama Dance Marathon. “We are so thankful for the support the University has given us over the years, and we are so excited for this change to reflect that.” 

UADM is celebrating its service to Alabama for the ninth year. In that time, the organization has raised nearly 1.3 million dollars for Children’s Hospital of Alabama. Its largest event, known as the “Main Event,” is a 13.1 hour-long dance party held annually in the Ferguson Center. This year, the Main Event has been renamed to BAMAthon, and leadership says this is to promote connection within the community. 

“The community here in Tuscaloosa has an overwhelming love for their city, state and, of course, football,” said Swathi Prasad, UADM’s director of BAMAthon. “With this name change, UADM hopes to continue to foster its connection with the campus and community.”

UADM has taken on several big projects in the group’s efforts to raise money for its cause. BAMAthon is only one part of the organization, and it’s the leadership hope that rebranding the event will allow for better awareness of what UADM is all about.

“Basically, we wanted to further our connection to the University,” said Will Bradley, a Sophomore studying Public Relations and Communications Studies serving as the UADM spokesperson. “We have a group of miracle kids every single year that are children being treated by Children’s Hospital of Alabama. Those kids are oftentimes Alabama fans and from this state. BAMAthon was our way of furthering that connection to the University that we call home, in the state that is called home by the kids we support.”

There are several students involved in UADM in some capacity, whether serving on leadership or just helping with the efforts of the group. A mission as large as serving the children of Children’s Hospital of Alabama requires an immense amount of help, and the efforts of UADM have proven successful over the years, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the fund. But students say they are driven to help for a much stronger, unifying reason: the miracle kids.

“There is something for everybody,” Bradley said. “At the end of that day, we’re all here for the same reason. I think that’s a really powerful thing that really can’t be found anywhere else on campus.”

UADM has consistently raised hundreds of thousands of dollars with their Main Event, raising  $248,796.19 in 2019 and $341,000.18 in 2018. These funds go directly toward the Children’s Hospital of Alabama, impacting the children that rely on their care. 

“UADM has made such a tremendous impact on the community by raising money for Children’s Hospital of Alabama, and that’s why I’m so passionate about recruiting other students for the organization,” said Julia Steck, a Sophomore studying Psychology and serving as UADM’s assistant director of greek recruitment. “I can’t wait for BAMAthon and to see everyone celebrate the impact and all the miracle kids we’ve had the opportunity to serve.”