At 4 a.m. Sunday, Alex Ross wasn't weary or low on energy. On the contrary, the Kansas University freshman was a high-fiving, wide-smiling ball of excitement.
Ross was watching the KU Dance Marathon -- the all-night party he helped bring to Lawrence -- unfold around him at the school's Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center, 1740 Watkins Center Dr. A group of students played basketball, a second group chowed down on food and drink, and a third engaged in a spirited game of dodgeball.
The marathon, which lasted from 8 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday, raised funds for Children's Miracle Network, an organization dedicated to improving youth health care.
"This has been a very successful event," Ross said of the marathon, which he said raised as much as $20,000. "We made a huge splash on campus even though it was our first time at KU."
Colleges around America -- more than 100 according to Ross -- participate in the dance marathon annually. The KU campus had not hosted a Dance Marathon event before Ross, a Chicago native, arrived. Before he even came to KU, he contacted Ile Haggins, executive director of Children's Miracle Network-Kansas City. More than one year later, 155 individuals made donations and attended the event at KU.
"It took years of trying before we could make this happen," Haggins said. "The stars really aligned, with Alex and his committee putting things together."
The event included games and activities, a basketball court-turned-dance floor, an appearance from the KU pep band and opportunities for young children to play games with KU students. The proceeds, which will stay local, could be allocated to places such as the KU Medical Center and Children's Mercy Hospitals.
The dance marathon concept started in 1991 at Penn State University, and has since spread across the nation. With KU's first dance marathon under its belt, Haggins said she felt good about the event's prospects.
"I'm excited that it feels like its just the beginning of something special," Haggins said. "This feels like a big pep rally for next year's marathon."