Michael Nowakowski / NBN
For students who need to use medical marijuana, the Illinois medical program has done little, and decriminalization would be an imperceptible change.
Carrie Twersky, March 5, 2017

NUDM announced a fundraising total of $1,253,596 for 2017. The money, which was raised throughout the year, as well as during a 30K in 10 hours push while in the tent, will benefit Gigi’s Playhouse and the Evanston Community Foundation, which celebrated its 20th year with NUDM. 

Photo by Mia Zanzucchi / North by Northwestern

The main beneficiary for 2017, Gigi’s Playhouse, offers free programing to children and adults with Down syndrome through their achievement centers across the country. Gigi’s mother, Nancy Gianni, who founded the organization says the money raised by DM will go to a new mobile playhouse program, among other things. This will allow families in "poverty sticken, rural areas, any areas that can't sustain a brick and mortar location" to gain access to the free programs, according to Gianni. Money will also be put towards speech programs and Gigi Fit, a fitness program to help those with Down sydrome to develop ...


Since Block 1, NBN has faithfully asked the one question everyone wants to know about Dance Marathon: Dancers, would you rather have sex or shower? Sweat, fatigue, and lust battled it out over the 30 hours in the answers to this historical question, but by the end of the night, there was one clear winner.

NBN has gathered this incredibly valuable sex or shower data since 2013. This was the first year that we did not differentiate by gender. In 2015 and 2016, a clear trend defined DM: over time, dancers got less thirsty for sex and more thirsty for a shower.

The 212 respondents of 2017 have confounded all NBN statistical wisdom. For the first time in the past few years, NUDM voted for sex.

Answers to the two categories (just two, even though people continued to beg for “sleep” as the third) fluctuated wildly throughout the 30 hours. “Sex” was the majority answer for seven blocks, starting strong ...


Carrie Twersky, March 4, 2017

NBN sat down with the "Chief Belief Officer" of Gigi's Playhouse and mother of Gigi, Nancy Gionni, to discuss how Gigi's Playhouse came to be and what's to come. 

NBN: How did Gigi’s get started?

Nancy Gianni: It started after Gigi was born. We didn’t know she was going to have Down syndrome. It was a big celebration. Everyone was having a great time, gonna have a baby, and then everything kind of changed, everyone got really quiet. [The doctors] came in and said they suspected that Gigi had Down syndrome. Just the way we were treated was different. I wanted a private room from the beginning and didn’t get one and now they were like “put her in a private room” and the lights were dim and they kept sending in the clergy. I felt as if my life was over and I really didn’t know how I was going to go ...


Victoria Alfred-Levow, March 4, 2017

During Block 10, actress Lauren Potter thanked the dancers for their fundraising. “Good luck dancing for 30 hours! Get ready to bust a move,” she finished. You know who she is, right? Just think back to middle school: Potter played sassy cheerleader Becky Jackson on Glee. But there’s a lot more to her besides playing Sue Sylvester’s sidekick. Here’s five fast facts about Lauren Potter.

1. Potter is a Down syndrome advocacy activist with a number of organizations: the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles, the American Association of People with Disabilities, and International Best Buddies.

2. She’s got a Northwestern connection. in 2014, Best Buddies NU invited her to speak to students about her experiences as an actor with an intellectual disability.

3. President Obama appointed her to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities in 2011.

4. She and Jane Lynch created a PSA comparing the word "retard" to racial slurs.

5 ...


Paola de Varona, March 4, 2017

Renee Goldsberry, famously known for her role of Angelica Schuyler in the Broadway musical Hamilton, gave the dancers a motivating message to #playforchange during block 9. If you’re in the mood for five fast facts then you came to the right place.

  1. Goldsberry originated the role of Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton. She won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for this role.
  2. She was the last actress to play Mimi in Rent on Broadway!
  3. Goldsberry has also written songs for several movies. She won the the John Lennon Songwriting contest with her songs from her album Everything But the Kitchen Sink.
  4. Not only did she originated the role of Angelica, but she also originated the role of Nettie in the Broadway musical adaptation of the Color Purple.
  5. Goldsberry attended Carnegie Mellon University, where she studied Theatre.


North by Northwestern Staff, March 4, 2017

NBN sat down with the food co-chairs to chat about every dancer's favorite part of each block...the snacks! 

NBN: What has the preparation for NUMD looked like for food?

Alex Keller: So, really where we start is drafting an ideal menu kind of based off last year’s snacks and dancer feedback that we get from the post-DM survey as well as just hearing from friends and people involved with the organization about what snacks were good and what snacks weren’t. From there, once we kind of have a goal in sight, we give our committee members specific solicitations. We take time organizing who is reaching out to where and taking stock of where we’re at and then it was much more targeted...And then, specifically the last two weeks, a lot of delivery and pick up logistics and where in Chicago you’re driving that day.

NBN: What about during the 30 hours? What do ...


Megan Ballew, March 4, 2017

"Sex, because I'm already dirty," says one beleaguered dancer.


North by Northwestern Staff, March 4, 2017
Victoria Alfred-Levow, March 4, 2017

During Block 6, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., winners of Dance Marathon’s color wars escaped the tent. In some distant block before, they had won the most points in Limbo, Evolution, and Ships and Sailors, and so their prize awaited on the second floor of Norris: eight extremely adorable puppies, sponsored by Community Animal Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E.).

After instructions to stay calm and quiet, groups of students gleefully cuddled and petted cute canines like Easel, who has three legs, and Cream Puff, who was decked out in a vest with a pink bow.

“The dogs had a blast playing and interacting with the students, and the students really seemed to enjoy it,” said Kari Kennedy, C.A.R.E.’s fundraising coordinator.

In branches throughout the North Shore, C.A.R.E. matches dogs and cats with foster owners and acts as a counseling resource for these owners. Rather than being a ...


Carrie Twersky, March 4, 2017

Steve Harvey addressed the dancers during Block 8. Here are five facts on the talk show host. 


1. He created a dating website. Sign up for a Delightful account here

2. He briefly trained to be a boxer. He was also an insurance salesman, mail career and carpeet cleaner before getting on TV. 

3. His real name is Broderick. Poser.

4. Steve had a stutter when he was young. Until the local butcher helped him get over it. Aw.  

5. He has a line of Christmas sweaters. Seriously, buy one. 


Andy Brown, March 4, 2017

During Block 8, Kristen Bell and Christina Applegate, who were both featured in Bad Moms, made a video cameo in the tent. If you're in the mood for five more fast facts about some more celebrities you're vaguely familiar with, you've come to the right place. 

  1. Applegate is best known for her starring role in Anchorman (and Anchorman 2, if you count that), alongside Will Ferrell as Veronica Corningstone. 
  2. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Applegate took part in Stand Up To Cancer, and has generally been very active in charitable efforts for many years.
  3. Bell did not initially like her first name, and went by Annie until she was in high school.
  4. Bell got her big break by starring as the title character on mystery drama series Veronica Mars.
  5. Most recently (and most notably, one might argue), Bell played Anna in Disney's animated instant classic, Frozen.


Rachel Wolfe, March 4, 2017

NBN spoke with DM co-chairs Jenny Halpern and Ian Pappas during Block 7.

The interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

NBN: What has the most rewarding part of this experience been?

Halpern: It’s just so incredible having over 1,000 people’s worth of energy in that tent with us.

Pappas: Another really rewarding aspect of this entire experience, especially a rewarding aspect of being in our position is that we get to see so many different aspects of the organization. Not only between the university and our organization, but also Gigi’s playhouse. What really has been great for me is being able to see the impact that we have had on Gigi’s playhouse. Not only tonight we’ll see a monetary impact, but also at the core of Gigi’s playhouse is a message of acceptance. Not only acceptance of people with Down Syndrome, but acceptance of people of all abilities. I think ...


Ricki Harris, March 4, 2017

Elaine might be the worst dancer, but at least she knows how to pump our dancers up. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, star of Seinfeld, The New Adventures of Old Christine and Veep, made a video appearance during Block 8. Dreyfus attended NU for three years before leaving to pursue her acting career. Here are a few more fun facts about this brag-worthy alum:

1. Dreyfus once said her dream costar is Abraham Lincoln Maybe she could be his veep?

2. Dreyfus did not appear in the pilot for Seinfeld The character Elaine was a later addition to the show after executives decided the cast needed a female counterpart. Guess Jerry, George and Kramer were a little too much testosterone.

3. She concealed two real-life pregnancies while filming Seinfeld Usually with the help of some oversized coats.

4. Dreyfus was a member of Delta Gamma While here, she also studied theater and performed in an improv group.

5. Dreyfus met her husband, Brad ...


Carrie Twersky, March 4, 2017

The Northwestern alum and comedian Billy Eichner, known for his show Billy on the Street, greeted the dancers during Block 8. Here are five things you should know about Billy: 

1. He once destroyed a car with Lindsay Lohan. The two took sledgehammers to a car in "celebration" of the end of How I Met Your Mother. 

2. His Parks and Recreation character was inspired by his Billy on the Street persona. Billy told splitsider.com that while they are similar, they operate in completely different environments. 

3. Billy's dream guest star is Meryl Streep. Or Rihanna because she "doesn't give a fuck."

4. He's on TinderSwipe right every time. 

5. He went to Northwestern! Where he "did Ecstasy and did Chekhov, and it was just the greatest thing ever," according to Vanity Fair.