April 1, 2023



How do I get involved? What can I do?

You can start by getting signed up today! Traditionally, most people get involved in their first year by signing up to be a dancer. Once you get signed up you will be assigned to a Morale Captain who will help make sure you are able to reach your personal fundraising goal and help keep you informed of the various Dakotathon happenings throughout the year. After participating your first year there are tons of ways to get more involved with leadership roles. You can become a Morale Captain, or eventually even a member of the Executive Team!!

What do all these terms mean?

A little confused about what Dancers, Morale Captains, and Executive Team mean? Browse through the vocabulary commonly used during Dakotathon.


FTK is one of the most commonly used slogans at any school’s Dance Marathon. This jumble of letters stands for “For The Kids”. You will hear FTK, see FTK, and eventually live FTK! After participating in Dakotathon, you will understand that FTK truly means something amazing.

Happy DM!

This phrase is often shouted by anyone taking part in Dakotathon. It stands for “Happy Dance Marathon!” (USD’s Dance Marathon = Dakotathon). If this is shouted, you are expected to yell back at the top of your lungs, “Happy DM!”

Morale Dance

The Morale Dance is a dance that is periodically taught throughout Dakotathon. The dance is set to a single song that has a mix of around 20 different songs put together in one big mash-up. The entire event ends with everyone dancing the entire Morale Dance. If you are not a good dancer don’t let that stop you, just remember FTK!


Dakotathon is run mainly by 28 students and a faculty advisor which comprise the Executive Team (Exec for short). They meet once a week to plan every aspect of Dakotathon. The responsibilities of the Exec Team range from fundraising, to event planning, to creating the dance, and much, much more. Should you have any questions during Dakotathon, these are the people to ask!

Morale Captains

Below Exec in the Dakotathon hierarchy are the Morale Captains. These individuals have been meeting twice a month since October to learn the Morale Dance. They are also in charge of a group of dancers that make up their Morale Group.


Dancers are the heart and soul of Dakotathon. These are all students that sign up and are not Exec or Morale Captains. Dancers are considered “normal” participants in Dakotathon. If you haven’t already, sign up as a dancer today!

Committee Members

Another crucial component of our Dakotathon Leadership Team is our Committee Members! We have over 10 different committees that functioned under their respective Executive Team members to help with fundraising, event planning, day of preparations and much, much more.

Miracle Family/Child

The families and children of Children’s Miracle Network are the reason why Dakotathon exists. All of the fundraising, effort, and time you dedicate is to show support for these families and children. Each Morale Group is assigned a Miracle Child for the entire 12 hours to give them the time of their lives!

Family Talk

Every Miracle Family has the opportunity to share their stories with all of Dakotathon’s participants. These stories are truly incredible and often remind you why Dakotathon is such a wonderful event.

How do I raise my money?

Even though $200 may sound like a lot to raise, it's not very hard to do! There are many ways to raise your money. You can write letters to family members asking for donations or you can also take advantage of our online donor drive system. All you have to do is email your friends and family and ask them to visit your own personal online donor page. This means you can raise your money without even getting out of your chair!

That’s $10 from 19 people plus a $10 donation from yourself or $20 from 10 people, and you will have exceeded your goal of raising $200 FTK (For the Kids)!!!

(Each of you most likely knows 20 people who can give $15, which would total $300!)

These people are your neighbors from home, your professors, teachers from home, family friends, family members, old co-workers, current co-workers, and your friends! Don't be afraid to ask and be sure to tell how much of a difference this event makes in our local communities.

Use this sample letter as a guide to asking for money. Good luck!

(To open the sample letter you must use a web browser other than Firefox)

What is the "Dance" Marathon business?

Dakotathon is USD’s version of a national organization called Dance Marathon. The connection to the word “dance” comes from the morale dance that participants learn periodically throughout the 12 hour Marathon. You do not have to be a good dancer to participate! If the word “dance” might scare you away, know that learning the morale dance is only a part of the Marathon!! Along with learning the dance, you are able to play all sorts of games, listen to concerts, watch a hypnotists and magician, eat a lot of food, travel around Vermillion, and much, much more!!

Who are the families that Dakotathon supports?

Dakotathon supports all families and children who are receiving treatments at Sanford Children's Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. 100% of the funds go to local families right here in South Dakota. Your hard work and dedication makes a true difference to people in your communities.