The Dancer Connection: Indiana University Brother Shares How Passion for Dance Marathon Strengthened Core Value of Duty

“If you want to change somebody else’s life, do dance marathon. If you want to change your own life, do dance marathon.”

For Indiana University senior Matt Spector, these simple words have meant the world to him during his college career. While there are many dance marathons across college campuses, Spector would not trade his Indiana University Dance Marathon (IUDM) experience or the connections he has made for anything.

Though he now serves as the director of the dancer relations committee, a coveted spot in the dance marathon world, Spector says it was very much a process of personal growth to get there.

Hailing from New Jersey, Spector came into college hardly knowing anyone but with a desire to broaden his scope while maintaining his values. When he found the men of the Alpha-Omicron chapter, he had found his home.

IUDM is one of the largest marathons across the country to raise money for children. Photo courtesy of IUDM.

“It [Lambda Chi Alpha] offered me the opportunity to be the kind of person I wanted to be while at school,” said Spector.

After joining Lambda Chi, Spector was soon introduced to the hectic but rewarding world of IUDM. Spector first participated in the electric event his freshman year and knew that he was hooked. But, there was a voice in the back of his head, asking how can we be better, what can I do to create more positive outcomes?

So, after serving as the committee chair for the dancer relations committee his sophomore year, Spector has since taken over the duties as the director, a position that has, funnily enough, been held previously by three other Lambda Chi members.

As director, Spector oversees every aspect of team building and fundraising imaginable of every Greek and non-Greek organization on campus that participates in IUDM. Spector has a hand in teaching dancers how to fundraise, while also creating engaging events that create a buzz around campus surrounding the event.

“It’s a very rewarding experience and it really does speak volumes to the type of person a Lambda Chi [member] is and how we are really able to connect with people from all sorts of different backgrounds and organizations,” said Spector.

While this position has vastly improved Spector’s leadership skills, the main reason he keeps coming back to IUDM is for the people. As our Core Values teach, the essence of the Lambda Chi Alpha member begins and ends with how much he can make a positive impact in someone else’s life.

Spector says one the most rewarding parts of the event is building relationships with the kids, such as Lambda Chi’s Riley Buddy, Owen. Photo courtesy of Matt Spector.

“You have the ability to take that extra free time that you have to make a difference, and that’s a decision I made and a decision that I am proud of,” assured Spector.

Spector has a crucial role leading up to IUDM, but once the event begins, Spector says one of his favorite things is to watch everything unfold in a beautiful whirlwind of colors, music, and most importantly, the smiles of the children and families benefiting from the event.

“When you see these kids, you meet them and you meet their families and they are thanking you, you feel like you are finally doing something worthwhile,” said Spector. “I think that at the end of the day, it’s about doing good work, doing it well, and making sure it is worthwhile.”

A very special part of the IUDM experience for Spector, and the rest of the brothers of the Alpha-Omicron chapter, is supporting their Riley Buddy, Owen. Watching Owen grow and overcome so many obstacles in his life is reward enough, according to Spector. Through the IUDM family, Spector has gotten the chance to make lasting connections with not only Owen and his family, but countless others along the way.

As a senior, it is bittersweet for Spector to look ahead to his last IUDM. But through the efforts of the many dancers whom Spector has connected with, the event has raised over 30 million dollars for Riley Hospital for Children.

Spector likes to think that he has made a small difference in the lives of these children and vows to continue to serve others as passionately as he has through IUDM.

To learn more about Matt’s passion for IUDM and to make a difference, please click here. Matt may be contacted directly at spectoriudm@gmail.com.

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