On Nov. 19, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic Council will be sponsoring its first ever Mule-a-thon, a twelve-hour dance marathon to raise money for the Amber Louise Elchert Foundation. This non-profit organization was created in memory of Amber Elchert ‘13 who battled hypoplastic left heart syndrome since she was born. Before she was 18 months old, she underwent three open-heart surgeries and was only given six months to live by her doctor. She graduated from Muhlenberg with a bachelor’s degree in psychology before passing four months later. All proceeds from Mule-a-thon will be donated to the foundation in commemoration of Amber and her mission to help special needs children follow their dreams.
The event will take place in Seegers Union from 8 p.m. – 8 a.m. and consist of twelve hours of dancing to various music genres. Participants can sign up as either an individual or in teams of two or more and donate a minimum of $25 to their fundraising pages through their website. Mule-a-thon will also have different games and interactive activities between each hour, including corn-hole tournaments and dance lessons.
The event was initially put together by a group of committee chairs, with Tom Hiller ‘23, the school committee head, being at the forefront of the production. “I serve as the main organizer of the event and make sure that each committee is doing their job.”
“I also stayed in direct contact with the Elchert family to make sure that they are happy with the event.”Tom Hiller ’23
Alex Caban-Echevarria ‘23, the operations committee head, planned the activities for the event alongside nine other students. “For the production of the event, we have planned many fun surprises and games coordinated by Isabella Caban-Echevarria ’23 to make a minute-by-minute itinerary,” explained Caban-Echevarria. “We also have a sub-committee of dancers, headed by Dani Medvedovski ’24, who have choreographed line dances to be taught at every hour. Another group, Tali Feen ’24 and Emma Schnall ’24 designed t-shirts and a Snapchat geofilter. Natalie Noye ’23 and Ashley Paseltiner ’23 planned a cornhole tournament and a halfway-mark celebration, and Anna Shigo ’24, Hilary Rappaport ’24 and Phoebe Unger ’24 planned the “Beach Room” (Seegers 111-113) that will be filled with games and decorations.”
Lindsey Kessler ‘23, the campus engagement committee head, found different clubs and individuals to become involved in the event. “I have figured out ways to get faculty and staff involved and helped organize groups to perform at the event,” said Kessler. “I also have a great sub-committee that’s been helping.”
In terms of funds, Jack Younes ‘23, the local sponsor committee head, reached out to potential sponsors for the event. “My job is to generate interest among potential sponsors and collect monetary or non-monetary donations from them,” said Younes. Sam Brown ‘23, the finance committee head, works with Younes and tracks the funds being put into the event to ensure that donations are accounted for.
Natalie Shaw, assistant director of Student Organizations, Leadership and Engagement (S.O.L.E), has been overseeing the entire process as an advisor. She is confident in the success of Mule-a-thon and the funds that will be raised for the foundation.
“I hope that the Muhlenberg community sees it as a way for everyone to come together and get involved in a shared event!” exclaimed Shaw. “I also hope that Amber’s legacy is shared on campus. The Amber Louise Elchert Foundation does a lot of incredible work to support critically ill children and their families during difficult times.”
The rest of the team is equally optimistic about the event and is anticipating lots of community engagement and dancing, of course.
“I’m hopeful that this could be a really big campus event because what I think we’re missing is large student-run campus events,” said Brown.
“I think we need something fresh and new which is how this idea came about in the first place.”Sam Brown ’23
“We have been planning since last spring so it has been so rewarding to see it all come together and it will be awesome to watch everyone experience the surprises we have in store,” said Kessler.
Students on campus have also shown excitement for Mule-a-thon and its potential, including Sophie Yellis ‘25 who said, “I’m really excited for it because it’ll be a great way for the Greek life community to come together to have fun dancing and raise money for such a great cause.”
Ethan Yazdanyar ‘25 exclaimed, “My high school had a ‘thon’ event too in 2019, but after the pandemic hit we couldn’t have it my junior and senior year. I’m excited to be able to raise money for a good cause as a school again.”
“While the event itself is being sponsored by IFC and Panhel, I want to make clear that Mule-a-thon is completely open to the entire student body,” Hiller explained. “My goal in creating this was to bring together the entire community to raise awareness to a fantastic cause that honors Amber, who was such a brave and selfless member of the ‘Berg community. I would love if as many organizations and people attend Mule-a-thon.”