Club & Greek

Now Stop … Zumba Time!

5,6,7,8 Club Hosted Zumbathon to Promote Wellness and Fitness Amongst Students

The 5,6,7,8 Club hosted a two hour long Zumbathon event to raise money for their annual recital while promoting health and fitness during the winter months in Anacon Hall on Friday, Feb. 7 from 6 – 8 pm.

President of the 5,6,7,8 Club Sarah Van Vliet felt that hosting an event featuring Zumba would be a great way to promote the increasingly popular exercise. “Zumba is working out while dancing and our club is a dance club. Since Zumba is such a big craze we thought it would be a good idea,” said Van Vliet.

5,6,7,8’s Zumbathon event was open to both men and women. The club charged each person $3 in order to participate in the event and raised a total of over $35. The proceeds will be used to alleviate the costs for costumes and other expenses for the club’s annual recital that will be held later in the year.

Conducting the Zumbathon event were instructors Alaina Serenelli, a member of the 5,6,7,8 Club, and Isabel Marmolejo, the club co-advisor.

Marmolejo, a Spanish Professor in the Department of Foreign Language Studies, offered Zumba Fitness classes at the University from 2009 to 2012. “Zumba was a life saver for me!” exclaimed Marmolejo, who has been practicing Zumba since 2007. “When I moved from Ecuador to the United States in 2007, Zumba was the perfect way to beat homesickness.”

Marmolejo also uses Zumba as a way to make new friends, and have fun while working out. She said, “In our spare time, my husband, Christopher Hirschler, who is also a professor at the University, and I would practice the recently learned moves in our living room. Sometimes we’ll have some fun leading a Zumba choreo (dance) at weddings, birthdays, and even graduation parties.” 

Secretary of 5,6,7,8 Club Kirsten Webb said, “I think Zumba is as popular as it is because everyone is really interested in getting healthy and fit.” The senior jokingly continued, “Half the time you don’t realize how much of a work out you’re getting, but you definitely feel it the next day.”

Zumba offers a wide variety of benefits that are hard to find with traditional methods of exercise. According to, “Researchers determined that Zumba is an effective interval-style, total-body workout with built in variety because every class and every instructor is slightly different.”

“If we look at the heart-rate monitor strips during the Zumba session, it kind of looks like an interval workout, going back and forth between high intensity and low intensity,” as stated on by lead researcher Mary Luettgen, M.S. “Because of that, with Zumba you burn a lot of extra calories compared to a steady-state exercise like jogging.”

According to, Zumba was “accidentally” discovered in the 1990’s by Colombian dancer and instructor Alberto “Beto” Perez. Perez forgot his tape of aerobics music for a class he was teaching, so he improvised a class using non-traditional aerobics music, such as merengue and salsa. After Zumba’s original success in Colombia, the exercise was introduced to the US in 2001. A Zumba class now uses elements of hip-hop and martial arts in addition to merengue and salsa, according to the site.

Zumba Fitness is a global lifestyle brand that fuses fitness, entertainment and culture into an exhilarating dance-fitness sensation. As stated on, over 14 million people are enrolled in Zumba classes all over the world, and it is also possible to burn hundreds of calories per session.

The 5,6,7,8 Club put together a public relations team in order to advertise the event. Club members organized the hanging of flyers, Facebook posting and mass e-mail sent to all University students, employees and faculty.

Van Vliet said that although the turnout was not as large as the club projected, the club will be hosting bake sales to raise additional funds to go towards the club’s recital. “For the recital, we have been working with the Boys and Girls Club of Asbury Park. We go there once a week to teach [the children] a routine and the children will also be performing in our recital.”

Webb urges students to become involved with the 5,6,7,8 Club. She said, “The best time to join is during the fall semester or the very beginning of the spring semester because around this time we’ve already started choreographing dances for the show.”

Marmolejo said, “I recommend doing Zumba everyday of your life. There is even an app, so you have no excuses.”