Club & Greek

Monmouth Hawks Dance Together: Benefiting Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders

The University’s Shadow PR Firm and Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter is hosting the inaugural “Monmouth Hawks Dance Together,” a six-hour dance-a-thon on Friday, April 4 from 6 pm – midnight. The dance-a-thon is aimed at benefitting The Valerie Fund, a not-for-profit organization that seeks to provide comprehensive health care and support for children with cancer and rare blood disorders in the tri-state area.

Kristi Silver, Co-President of PRSSA, said, “I think everyone has a soft spot for children and no child should ever have to go through the trauma of dealing with cancer.” Silver believes if the University comes together for this event to help a few children receive treatment just a few blocks from the University, PRSSA accomplished its goal. “These kids are our neighbors and we have the opportunity to help them,” she added.

The event will be held in Anacon Hall and the goal is to raise at least $10,000 for The Valerie Fund Children’s Center for Cancer of The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center. Currently, over $4,200 has been raised for “Monmouth Hawks Dance Together,” with  20  registered teams and an estimated total of 100 participants.

The leading team, Team McKenna, has currently raised over $1,500. The team leader, Kyle McKenna, a junior public relations student, was inspired to seek out donations and become involved in the cause by Bunny Flanders, Director of Marketing and Communications for The Valerie Fund, when she visited the University’s PRSSA chapter this past fall. He said, “The video she showed just really hit me. I could feel for those kids.” McKenna was also driven by a close hockey teammate of four years that he lost to brain cancer last year. “I think you can see my motivation there,” he added.

According to Kelly Brockett, Co-President of PRSSA, the biggest sponsors of the event include Kohl’s, who will be donating $1,000 upon completion of the event, Buffalo Wild Wings of Monmouth Mall, who donated $100 to Team McCabe, and a combined $100 donation from Dr. Chad Dell, Chair of the Communication Department, and Dr. Eleanor Novek, an associate professor of communication.

University President Dr. Paul Brown said, “I am very proud of the compassion and initiative of our students, faculty, and staff who are helping to raise awareness and money for The Valerie Fund… The dance-a-thon is a wonderful example of how Monmouth University supports and is connected to our community.” Brown believes the dance-a-thon is a worthy cause and can be a transformative experience, which shows a real testament of character by those involved in organizing the event.

Flanders said there are more than 4,000 kids that are treated each year for cancer and blood disorders in NJ. “It is especially important for young adults to understand that giving back to others should be a part of everyone’s life,” she remarked.

Brockett said the chapter has been planning the dance-a-thon since May 2013. “I wanted to leave a legacy behind after completing my presidency of Shadow PR Firm and PRSSA and start something new on campus, in addition to playing a hand in getting the chapter more recognition on campus,” she said. Brockett believes “Monmouth Hawks Dance Together” is offering University students the opportunity to have event-planning and public relations experience outside of the classroom.

Events that will be occurring at “Monmouth Hawks Dance Together” include a DJ competition where participants can vote for their favorite DJ of the night, a music trivia game, a craft station where guests can make cards for both the children and families of The Valerie Fund, and a silent auction where participants can bid on items like an autographed Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks jersey and a Nook.

Mary Harris, co-advisor of PRSSA, said, “I think the dance-a-thon is going to be successful and spread awareness of The Valerie Fund in this very small and humble way.” Harris is thrilled to for this opportunity to work alongside fellow professors, staff, and students to build school spirit and help a local cause.

“I know personally that I get really emotional thinking about the children that we will be benefiting from these services, and I plan on dancing most of the time because I know I am dancing for a great cause,” Harris continued.

To publicize the event, PRSSA has been posting on social media sites including Facebook and Twitter, displaying flyers in campus buildings, and spreading word of mouth to encourage participation.

“You have a chance to be a part of an inaugural event at the University, and something that could possibly raise over thousands and thousands of dollars in one single day,” said Silver. To register, those interested can pay a minimum of $10 electronically at or are welcome to come the day of the event and pay at the door. The event is limited to 325 participants.

Brockett said, “The Valerie Fund is very important to me because I have lost friends and family due to cancer and have known others that have been diagnosed. It means a lot to me that I am able to help out another child or family that is going through this tough time so they hopefully do not have to experience a loss like I have.”