Dancers took a brief break 75 minutes into their marathon to view a quick congratulatory video from U.S. senator Dick Durbin.
Durbin, the assistant senate majority leader, praised Northwestern’s dancers for their efforts to raise money to fight cancer. The video was one of the first of many motivational breaks scheduled for the 30-hour event.
Evanston-based Illinois state Representative Daniel Biss also spoke in conjunction with Durbin’s video. Durbin has a history of working for improved healthcare. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Lung Association for authoring legislation in 2008 to ban smoking on commercial airline flights.
Durbin introduced the Childhood Asthma Initiative in 1999, which provided $50 million in grants for state and community-based organizations to support asthma treatment and prevention.
Not long after Durbin’s video, President Morty Schapiro took the stage to encourage the dancers and drop a few Star Wars clichés.
"I felt a disturbance in the force and I knew you needed my help!" he exclaimed, reading off a script and bantering with emcee Ned Baker. Schapiro continued, albeit haltingly, to introduce Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin and Schapiro’s wife, Mimi.
Though they didn’t stay for long, Schapiro assured dancers that he and Mimi would be back and sporting fancy garb on Saturday night. “There’s 1,400 of you, a great cause to raise money for, and 30 hours of unselfish behavior,” Schapiro said. “It’s amazing.”
Correction: Representative Daniel Biss himself spoke, not a representative, as was previously stated. North by Northwestern regrets the error.