Eastern Michigan University’s Center for Multicultural Affairs raised $263 at the fourth annual “Hustle Your Heart Out” dance Friday night, nearly hitting its $300 goal. Well over 200 students filed into the Student Center ballroom for a night of dance lessons and food, to raise money for the American Heart Association.
"It's to bring awareness toward heart disease and to raise money towards education and funding life saving research” Tara Tomcsik, of the AHA, said. “It stays in Washtenaw County but funds a variety of programs.”
The doors opened at 7:10 p.m. and inside, a disc jockey hosted and there was a dance floor set up in the middle of the room. The lighting was dimmed to halfway and the stage was lit with colored lights that changed with the music. Tables surrounded the dance floor, which were packed much of the night.
"We decided to attend because we saw everybody coming here,” Tasharry Seay, a freshman majoring in social work, said. “We've seen fliers and thought it was for a good cause."
"I came because I saw other people, like she said,” Precious Humphery, a sophomore majoring in chemistry, said. “And I just wanted to see what was going on. [And] to be part of the cause."
The main entertainment for the night was provided by, Maurice Adams, a dance instructor from Detroit. Part of the point was to encourage exercise and healthy decisions.
"We've been here since we started," Adams said. " We're working out. We're moving."
Zara Northover, an EMU alum and Olympian in “Shotput for Jamaica”, originally started “Hustle Your Heart Out”. Graduate Assistant, Ebony Walls, organized this year's fundraiser.
"We have a lot of students on campus who have a passion for dancing,” Walls said. “Also, the American Heart Association has deep root connections within the hearts of EMU faculty, staff and students."
The deep roots Walls referred too include the Washtenaw County Heart Walk, an annual walk that takes place on campus in May. It is chaired by, Heather Lyke, EMU's athletic director.
Money was raised for “Hustle Your Heart Out by a voluntary raffle of $1 and $10 tickets and “Hustle Your Heart Out” t-shirts were also available.
"We have $15 value gift certificates to the Jamaican Jerk Pit. The owner is, actually, an EMU alum,” Walls said. “We also have prizes from MGM Grand Detroit. It has been of continuous support throughout the years. Along with a couple of HP tablets.”
Prizes were handed out during breaks in the music throughout the night. However, quite a few people left early and the price for the “Hustle Your Heart” t-shirts dropped to $5 for the remainder of the evening.
In Michigan, the American Heart Association has raised approximately $16.1 million since 2009. The majority of that money goes to schools in and around Southeast Michigan.
"The lead cause of death is cardiovascular disease. On average, heart disease accounts for 33.8% [of deaths] in Michigan," Tomsick said. "If you combine all cancers, it still doesn't equate to the number of people who die of cardiovascular disease."