Students got a great workout for a great cause on Saturday, Feb. 25 in Elting Gym.
Wellness and Recreation’s Zumbathon event raised $100 for the Ulster County Eating Disorders Coalition in honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, according to Assistant Director of Wellness and Recreation For Fitness and event coordinator Christina Cordier.
“It’s basically one big live Zumba class featuring multiple instructors,” Cordier said. “Folks pay cash at the door and then participate for however long they like.”
Zumbathon first started at SUNY New Paltz in 2011 to fundraise for MS and was called “Move It for MS,” according to Director of Wellness and Recreation Keith Kenney. Since then, the event has been named Zumbathon and has donated to American Heart Association, National Association for Breast Cancer Awareness, Relay for Life and others.
“The idea was to raise money while having fun and getting a great workout,” Kenney said. “We loved it and continued on with it.”
Saturday’s event began at 12:30 p.m. Before hitting “play” on the afternoon’s Zumba playlist, attendees were informed about the cause they came to support: The Ulster County Eating Disorders Coalition.
Kathryn Lucia, Community Resource Coordinator of Mental Health Association in Ulster County, said the coalition provides resources and advocates for those dealing with eating disorders.
“[Before the coalition started in the early 2000s], there was no resource in the mid-Hudson Valley area for anyone suffering with eating disorders,” Lucia said. “If you needed intensive therapy, you had to go to Albany, New Jersey or New York City. We wanted to bring awareness to eating disorders, educate the community, advocate and help connect people to resources.”
The coalition also offers support groups in various locations and an annual conference held in Kingston. Lucia accepted donations from $5 to $15 at the event.
Six Zumba instructors led the hour-and-a-half-long Zumba marathon. Swapping in and out for each song, the enthusiastic teachers kept energy and heart rates up. Fourth-year communication disorders and Zumba instructor Victoria Calandirello spent her third year instructing Zumbathon.
“I had gone as a participant before and I really liked it because there was so much energy being surrounded by so many different people,” she said. “It didn’t matter if you were this amazing studio dancer or someone who was going there for the first time. It’s an accepting environment.”
Calandirello added that it was unifying to come together under a common passion and exercise for a cause.
“I think it’s really great that there are opportunities to get the community and the campus involved in one big event and to put our hearts and souls into something that will not only give us a great workout and bring us together, but also provide an opportunity to put our donations toward a good cause in the process,” she said.
For more information on The Ulster County Eating Disorder Coalition, visit www.eatingdisordersny.com/.