From Selfies to Selfless: How Dance Marathons Change Millennials Like Me

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Ball State University Dance Marathon 2014

I am a millennial.

I am a member of the generation pegged as selfish, disinterested, and apathetic—the generation in love with selfies. The world stereotypes us as self-entitled, disloyal, and hungry for positive feedback.

Maybe I have a bias, but I think that the Dance Marathon movement shows a different side of my generation.

I, along with all of the high school and college students that work with Dance Marathon, believe this crazy idea that we can change the world. We believe that passionate commitment towards a cause greater than ourselves is more worthwhile than a high salary.

I love watching 1,584 Ball State Cardinals come together. I love watching as students from different organizations on campus stand together. I love watching as dancers enter the marathon excited for the event, but leave the marathon excited for the future.

I love watching as a disinterested dancer realizes the cause for which they are standing.

These are the moments I wait for all year. As a Co-Director of Dancer Relations for BSUDM 2014, I was in charge of meeting with team captains leading up to the marathon to prepare them for the big event. During a meeting, we showed the captains a story of one of our Riley families and one captain broke down crying.

It hit her.

She told me that when she came to college, she wanted to be a part of something bigger than herself. During that meeting, she realized that she was accomplishing her goal.

Before joining Dance Marathon, I was the stereotypical millennial. I worked solely for the accolades and titles. Dance Marathon has allowed me to be crazy passionate about a cause bigger than myself and channel this passion into a life-changing mission.

And this passion is spreading to millennials nationwide.

Max Browning, Director of Stewardship, Ball State University Dance Marathon

Max is a junior at Ball State University studying Organizational Communications. He participated in his first Riley Dance Marathon during his senior year of high school in May 2012, and has been involved with twelve college and high school marathons since then. This year he is serving as the Director of Stewardship for Ball State’s Dance Marathon.

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