Skeptics like to point out that school spirit is an ongoing challenge for UC Irvine. However, the first annual Care-A-Thon event from Associated Students of UCI’s Spirit Commission is a bold attempt to revive school spirit by uniting the UCI community toward a common cause. It’s time to dance for the Children’s Hospital of Orange County at UCI’s Care-A-Thon event on May 15 from 6 p.m. to midnight at the Student Center Emerald Bay Rooms.
Clearly, not everyone has given up on school spirit at UCI, including the Spirit Commission.
“UCI has school spirit, as was witnessed with last year’s sports championships and successes, but it’s such a commuter school that it’s hard to get students in mass to show off that spirit,” said Max Broad, a third-year social ecology major. Since two-thirds of UCI students commute to and from school, it is difficult to unite students and show a powerful outpouring of school spirit.
The Spirit Commission is dedicated to taking on that daunting task and may succeed, as there are an estimated 500 people from the UCI community participating in the Care-A-Thon. Ahrash Rastegar, a first-year business economics major in the Spirit Commission, said, “This event has been the primary focus of the Spirit Commission, and we’ve put our heart into it.” Heart is a big part of this event, since it benefits pediatric cancer patients at CHOC.
UCI’s Care-A-Thon is commonly mistaken for a dance marathon, but it is much more. It is a charitable event with bands, dance performances, carnival games, food, refreshments, inspirational stories and participants can even meet the children who are patients at CHOC. The event helps fund programs for families and patients undergoing treatment at CHOC. The Spirit Commission is finally bringing this six-hour event to UCI so that the community has the opportunity to unite and join a cause that has already swept the country. The funds raised by the Care-A-Thon will go directly to the CHOC Foundation to benefit research, equipment, outreach programs, education and children undergoing treatment.
Participants in Care-A-Thon will enjoy the entertainment of many performers, including Kaba Modern Legacy, MCIA, The Daylights (a band that opened for One Republic), Brandon Schott, the Three Heads Band, CADC and International Farmers. All proceeds will go directly to CHOC, a top children’s hospital recognized by CHILD Magazine and by Leapfrog.
There are three ways to get involved in this event: as a dancer, a moraler or as a volunteer. A dancer is a registered participant who raises money through sponsorship and takes part in the games and activities throughout the night. Dancers can get sponsored through the UCI Care-A-Thon Web site, www.ucicareathon.com.
Even if a person does not register online to participate, he or she can still come to the event as a moraler. A moraler makes a donation of $7 upon entrance at the event or buys a $5 pre-sale ticket from UCItems and participates in the event’s festivities. Lastly, a volunteer helps the Spirit Commission facilitate the event. In any role, a person is bound to raise money for the children of CHOC and dancing the night away with the UCI community, children of CHOC and the entertainment lineup.
The Spirit Commission exists to raise school unity through community involvement. Led by Andrew Vo, a second-year business economics major, the Spirit Commission is finally fulfilling its purpose. “We [Spirit Commission] wanted to prove that UCI could make a difference in the world. Dancing, inspirational stories, bands, performers, laughing and being proud to be a person who made a difference would definitely promote school spirit,” Vo said.
This year’s six-hour Care-A-Thon is a mere glimpse of what is to come in the following years. If it is successful, UCI will host an annual 24-hour Care-A-Thon in the future. This year is the beginning of a new tradition, and a reminder that UCI is still here and as Vo said, “We’ve got spirit!”