Greek Life philanthropists host dance party for charity

Mavathon, an annual dance marathon raising money for a Minnesota children’s hospital, returned Friday night at Minnesota State with live music from three local and student bands.

The event kicked off in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom with a cover of Journey’s “Lights” from the student band High School Liars, led by singer and bass player Sam Vestel. Vestel and Elizabeth Sazma coordinated the event in hopes of raising awareness for the larger return of Mavathon in February.

Mavathon is the MSU-branded version of Dance Marathon, which is sponsored by the Children’s Miracle Network. The nonprofit works with schools in the United States and Canada to throw these competitive, non-stop dance parties to raise money for children’s hospitals. Mavathon’s proceeds go to the Gillette Children’s Hospital in Saint Paul. 

According to Vestel, the annual Mavathon fundraisers raised about $20,000, and his and Sazma’s goal is to bring those numbers back up since the event was stifled by COVID-19 for the past three years.

“During COVID they didn’t really have a Mavathon, so my first Mavathon was the same as Sam’s (in February), so we haven’t really experienced the whole thing. But we know people who have experienced it and we’re kind of going off of them to try to make it like what it was before COVID,” Sazma said.

Sazma and Vestel are vice presidents of community service and philanthropy for their Greek life associations and decided they wanted to bring Mavathon back to include live music from local and students’ bands. It is one of the biggest fundraising events on campus that the chapters are involved in.

“When we got into our elected positions we got to watch our first Mavathon happen and that’s literally all the experience I had for Mavathon,” Vestel said. “I didn’t really understand what Mavathon was but I wanted to do something and be part of the community. Be something bigger than myself.”

The pair chose to have Friday’s event in November as a preview of what is to come in February.

“We just felt like it was a good way to raise awareness for the big Mavathon event, which will be happening February 18 and then it gives people enough time to actually figure out what it is, create a team if they decide to become a part of Mavathon and then hopefully even be able to fundraise for it as well,” Sazma said.

Attendees form teams and compete by dancing without sitting down and by showing enthusiasm throughout the night. 

There were three bands at Friday’s Mavathon; High School Liars, Mavriqe and Love Caboose.

Sazma said she heard her friends talk highly about the 2019 pre-COVID Mavathon.

“They’ve always talked so highly of it and that’s what we want to be able to have. To have people know what Mavathon is and be able to be like ‘oh that was an amazing event,’” Sazma said.

Header photo: Mavathon allowed students to hear from a variety of local and student bands, all for a good cause. The event plays off of the Dance Marathon hosted by Children’s Miracle Network. (Dominic Bothe/The Reporter)

Write to Carly Bahr at

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: