Serena Hua (left) and Zack Dwyer are Zagathon co-directors.

Gonzaga's favorite marathon is back. But don’t worry, this marathon doesn’t involve any running. 

Almost three years after its last in-person fundraiser, Zagathon is ready to dance and raise money for Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital on March 19 next semester from 4 p.m. to midnight in the Cataldo Globe Room. 

Zagathon was held on a small scale in 2021 and didn’t happen in 2020 due to COVID-19. Because this event hasn’t been at full capacity in over three years, first-year, sophomore and junior students have yet to experience Zagathon’s impact.   

“Zagathon is a student-led organization that is working to raise money for Sacred Heart hospital and 100% of the proceeds go directly to kids being treated there," said Serena Hua, co-director of Zagathon and GU senior.

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The Zagathon team has high hopes for this year’s fundraiser, setting out to raise over $100,000 and have 700 students attend the event.

“Every hour of the event has a different theme,” said Zack Dwyer, senior at GU and co-director of the event. “There are different dances and decorations to go with each theme.” 

Attendees can expect dancing, games, decorations, snacks and a lot of fundraising for Zagathon. The executive team is working on partnerships with popular Spokane vendors such as Sweet Frostings, Donut Parade and Brick West Brewing. 

At the end of the night the grand total for donations is added and announced. Some families who have benefited from Zagathon’s fundraising have come to the event in years past to share their stories. This is one of the most powerful parts of the event for attendees.  

“These families really put it into perspective when they talk," Hua said. "In a way, it is putting a name and face to the work we do, and it makes everything worth it."

Students’ fundraising throughout the year has a large impact on the Spokane community. Money raised by Zagathon is distributed by the hospital where they see fit, such as preemie equipment, diapers and larger medical machines. 

The dance marathon and fundraising for the local children’s hospital is a nation-wide phenomenon and part of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH),that colleges across the country participate in. All colleges that participate are also fundraising to support their local children’s hospitals. 

“Gonzaga is actually the only college to be raising money for Sacred Heart,” Hua said. 

Zagathon is looking for underclassmen to get involved with the organization. There are 14 people on the executive team, which will open up in the spring for applications, and 40 people are part of the morale squad. 

Dwyer said as a member of the morale squad, students are in charge of keeping Zagathon participants energized and maintaining a lively event atmosphere. For students considering getting involved with Zagathon longterm, Dwyer said that morale squad can be a good way for students to get their foot in the door for future positions.  

As for participating in this year's event and donating, registration is now open. Registering means people will be attending the event. It costs $15 to register and people can join and create teams with their friends and have funding competitions. 

Participants can raise money by talking to professors, friends, family and promoting Zagathon on social media.  

“The best part of Zagathon in my opinion is getting to see students come together for a cause far greater than themselves,” Dwyer said. 

Zagathon also brings together GU alumni and the Spokane community in support of Sacred Heart Children's Hospital, Hua said. 

Zagathon is a collective movement, as it thrives off the passion and excitement in the room of the participants. Everyone is thrilled to be serving the Spokane community. 

You can follow Zagathon updates on Instagram

@guzagathon and register for its dance marathon event in March through Linktree.

Alise Hartz is a contributor.

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