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HuskyTHON A Pet Project For NHS Grad



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HuskyTHON A Pet Project For NHS Grad

By Nancy K. Crevier

HuskyTHON is a philanthropic event founded in 1998 by the University of Connecticut’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Every year, the 18-hour dance marathon raises thousands of dollars to support the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford. Last year, the event raised $56,920.

Newtown High School graduate Jessica Budnick has been involved with the HuskyTHON effort since her second freshman semester at UConn in 2007. “I’m a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, which is involved, and I’ve always wanted to go into a nonprofit sector of public relations or doing fundraising for hospitals,” said Jessica, who will graduate from UConn this spring with a degree in English. “This was an awesome opportunity to get started with that.”

After serving in previous years as the catering director and the director of public relations for HuskyTHON, Jessica served as the executive director for 2009, overseeing a board of 15 students and acting as the spokesperson for the event.

“I have learned about children’s hospitals and how important it is to do fundraising for charities,” said Jessica of her participation in the program. “Everyone can do a part in even little ways. This makes me want to do community service for the rest of my life,” she said.

The 2009 HuskyTHON dance marathon was held February 21 in the Greer Field House on UConn’s Storrs campus. From 6 pm to noon the following day, 525 students danced the night and morning away to raise $100,126, one hundred percent of which will go to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

“That was up from 200 dancers last year,” said Jessica, who was pleased that the event surpassed the $100,000 goal. “In this recession we were not so sure we would be able to reach our goal, so this exceeded our expectations,” she said.

As part of her fundraising efforts, in December 2008 and again in January of this year, Jessica appealed to the generous nature of her hometown via letters to The Newtown Bee, and was not disappointed by the response.

“I really want to thank everyone for the support of HuskyTHON 2009,” she said. “We had a very good response from Newtown. A lot of local businesses contributed, which helped a lot.”

While website donations are no longer being accepted, the 2010 HuskyTHON planning is already underway and donations that will be credited to next year’s HuskyTHON can be mailed to HuskyTHON, Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, University of Connecticut, 2110 Hillside Road, Unit 3008, Storrs CT 06269, said Jessica.

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