One of the most popular student organizations for college students on many of our campuses is Dance Marathon, an organization where motivated, enthusiastic, and generous college students raise money throughout the year for pediatric cancer patients. Dance Marathon’s Big Event, held on high school and college campuses around the country, consists of participants dancing for 12 or 24 hours straight, ending in a “big reveal” of how much money has been raised throughout the past year. This is a truly incredible organization, and there are a lot of things that we as admission professionals can learn from these dedicated, energized, and enthusiastic students.

One of the many leadership positions available for students through Dance Marathon, a Morale Captain is responsible for bringing excitement Twin Dayand energy to every Dance Marathon event. Throughout the next year, the University of Iowa Office of Admissions decided to assign an office-wide Morale Captain for each of the busiest and most stressful months: September, October, November, February, and March. Two staff members were assigned to each month, one on-campus staff and one regionally-based staff member, and these pairs are responsible for keeping up staff morale and bringing excitement and energy to these busy months in the admission cycle.

For the first month, Morale Captains Sauvik Goswami (Assistant Director) and Marissa Simplot (DSM Area Regional) organized a spirit week. Each day had a different theme: High School Pride Day, where staff wore their high school colors; Bright Bottoms Day, where even the director wore bright green pants; Denim Day; Office Twin Day, where pairs of staff members dressed in matching outfits; and Hawkeye Pride Day, with everyone decked out in black and gold. Each day also served a greater purpose. For each of the dress-up days, participating staff donated Denim Daymoney to support a different cause. Some of these causes included: Second Shot, the UI Food Pantry, and the Red Shamrock Foundation.

In addition to dressing up, staff members also participated in two week-long games, Travel Bingo and Counselor Call Bingo. Items on the Counselor Call Bingo cards included both positive and frustrating phone situations, like, 'being told you made someone’s day,' and 'the call dropping halfway through the conversation.' Some of the items on the Travel Bingo cards included 'eating lunch in the car,' 'forgetting to bring contact cards,' and 'eating Casey’s pizza for three meals in a row' -- we’ve all been there.

On the Friday before the Cy-Hawk football game, the Iowa admissions team held a tailgate lunch on the lawn outside of their office. Staff members grilled hotdogs and brats, and everyone brought snacks and desserts to share. A few staff members tossed around a football, and it was a great chance for everyone to relax a bit and enjoy some time together amidst the busy start of travel season. Just as Dance Marathon Morale Captains remind participants that everything they do is “For the Kids,” admissions Morale Captains can help remind us all that everything we do is for our students.

How are your admission teams preparing to support each other and stay positive & strong throughout the upcoming year? How are the students that you work with inspiring you to be a better professional or a better teammate? Share your stories with Iowa ACAC Scenes by contacting Susan Dickinson at [email protected].