Vice President Joe Biden and a wide array of Northwestern alumni working in Washington, D.C. sent a video message to NUDM offering dancers support and encouragement as they entered the home stretch of the 30-hour marathon.
"A little-known secret about the White House is we've got a bunch of proud Northwestern Wildcats here," said Cody Keenan, White House Chief Speechwriter (WCAS '02).
The video featured apppearances from former DM executive co-chair and current Associate Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Tara Corrigan (SoC '08), NBC News White House Correspondent Peter Alexander (Medill '98) and State Department Chief Speechwriter Steve Krupin (Medill '04), among others.
When the Vice President's Deputy Chief of Staff Shailagh Murray (Medill '90) and Chief Speechwriter Sean O'Brien (CAS '96) made appearances, the Vice President himself leapt into frame to offer encouragement (labeled as an "Honorary Wildcat"), though he also took the opportunity to show off a little of his own college pride.
"Keep dancing, go 'Cats, but Orange wins," Biden said. The Orange are the athletic team of Syracuse University, where the Vice President earned his JD.
The video also featured appearances from Press Secretary Jay Carney (referred to as "Not A Wildcat, Total Bro Though") and Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling, a University of Michigan alumnus.
According to members of the DM exec board, this video (as well as the video message from President Obama that started DM off nine blocks earlier) came about when DM decided to reach out to Keenan out of the blue. As it turned out, Keenan is an enthusiastic Northwestern fan and ended up being very helpful in coordinating videos for DM with White House staff.
"I think sometimes we tend to go through connections that are already established," DM 2014 executive co-chair Anna Radoff said. "But our philosophy this year with DM for Josh and I was 'go big or go home,' and we went big."
Radoff and her fellow executive co-chair Josh Parish said DM chose to show the Obama video first because they hoped it would energize DM out of the gate, not just for dancers but for people watching the livestream from home and potential last-minute donors. Parish said the Finance committee is too busy in the final hours of DM to analyze the sources of donations, but since the Obama video currently has over 10,000 views on YouTube, DM is happy with its viral popularity.
Similarly, they thought the Keenan video was a good start to the final block of 10.
"This is what Block 10's about, it makes you proud to be a student here," Parish said. "It's not totally about how you're proud to have raised X dollars yourself, it's that you're proud to go to Northwestern, and that's what the people in this video are saying. I'm really glad we showed that one in Block 10."
Christian Holub contributed reporting.