The Louisville Cardinal Features Alum Now Children’s Book Author Tuesday, Oct 25 2022 

By Natalie Bickel

Former “The Louisville Cardinal” Reporter Natalie Bickel

Reporting on the fun stuff.” That’s how I defined my role as a features writer for The Louisville Cardinal from 2014-2015. I wrote about student trends, films being shown at school, and holidays. Given the opportunity with U of L’s student newspaper immensely accelerated my writing journey.

From that journalism-centric foundation, I created a blog, wrote for publications including Darling Magazine, finished my first novel, published a short story in an anthology, and finally authored a children’s book titled The Christmas Clue

When I was drafting fictional, yet realistic pieces of work for my news writing class, like an obituary for our favorite celebrity, nearby construction, or local business milestones, I knew I highly enjoyed writing in this way, but I never thought I would branch out to become a children’s book author. 

The idea came to me right after Christmas of 2020. I had recently finished another round of edits on my novel, and I was inkling for another adventure. Writing has always been my method for processing the world around me, using emotions, experiences, and metaphors to take readers on a journey with me, broadening my individual life moments. When I write, my goal is for people to feel exactly what I’m feeling, to be able to imagine a setting so clear they could almost reach out and touch it, to not see a screen with words, but rather a redefined world that comes with a fresh way of viewing an everyday experience. Then, it hit me. I could do just that by writing about one of my favorite moments that occurs every year—a tradition my dad created and still implements annually—a clue-filled scavenger hunt to the last present. 

When chatting with friends about their traditions, I found that my family’s rhyming clues were unique. The concept was solid, and I had all of the clues from each Christmas, dating back to 2000. My dad personalized most clues to whatever my brother and I were into at the time. For example, maybe we had passed our driver’s test that year or we were obsessed with Hillary Duff and other TV shows. Though I love these specific stanzas, in order to make The Christmas Clue universal and relatable, I picked out my favorite clues and made them more general.

My father also included extensive rhyming that sometimes was a bit of a stretch, within each clue. I tried to match his rhyming structure throughout the story portion of The Christmas Clue. This took some practice, as I don’t typically write this way. But, once I was into it, it was like the rhymes kept coming to me—in my dreams, while I was watching TV, during work, taking a walk, etc. A rhyme would unexpectedly pop into my head and I then had to get onto paper immediately before it vanished. 

Writing a children’s book also usually requires a happy ending, which wasn’t a problem, and a “moral to the story” revelation at the end. To achieve this, I broke down the basic reason why my brother and I cherish our tradition—throughout the chaos, there are intense feelings of love, joy, and specialized family time. Between the laughter and out-of-breath racing around the house, we find connectedness to one another. 

Since writing The Christmas Clue, I’ve found many others who have some version of an annual seek-and-find or hunt-to-find presents. I’m grateful many of us have memories and traditions that bring us back to a child-like sense of wonder while surrounded by the love of family. 

If you’d like to buy The Christmas Clue, you can do so here. The coloring book version is available here. You can check out Natalie Bickel’s site here

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University Dining Addresses Panda Express closure, shortened MarketPlace hours Sunday, Oct 23 2022 

By Tate Luckey

After being shut down for nearly a month, the University of Louisville Dining Services announced they are set to reopen Panda Express before the end of the semester.

What Happened to Panda?

The restaurant recently had to shut down due to issues with the fire suppression system according to Lisa Ennis, the director of Auxiliaries and Asset Management.

It had not been serviced in years and that was not under my watch. These issues could have potentially caused a fire. I made the decision to shut down [Panda] as soon as I was made aware. We will have to order food and the supply chain may be our only obstacle to overcome. I assure you, we have the safety of the campus as our number one priority,” she stated. 

During the time of the shutdown, Nathan’s Taqueria sent their food truck to serve as a fun alternative for students during lunch hours. Their menu included options for street tacos and nachos that students could purchase for flex points, Monday through Thursday.

Still Insufficient

Even with the reopening of Panda Express, this still doesn’t fully solve the student body’s issues with more dining options and later hours. Among the restaurants on the Belknap campus, only Twisted Taco, Wendy’s, Starbucks, and Eiffel Pizza are open past 8. The Health Science Campus has even fewer options, with students only being able to order Chick-fil-A and Starbucks via Grub Hub. For those in 8+ hour clinical, options can get pretty mundane.

“There are some other options nearby like food trucks and Panera, but those are not affiliated with U of L so they don’t take Flex or Swipes. The hours are also fairly limited for each option- Starbucks closes at 2:45, yet my latest class is until 3:50,” HSC senior Kaycie Carpenter said.

Services Vice President Alex Reynolds and other members of the U of L SGA have been pushing for longer restaurant hours, and have made progress in advocating for more local, health-oriented options that will hopefully debut on campus in the future. Superfood smoothie company Lueberry took the place of Cardinal Nutrition in the SRC over the summer, and dining services have been keen on showcasing both the talents of their staff through events like “Battle of the Chefs” and local vendors through “Farm to Table.”

An example of the food offered at the MarketPlace.

The MarketPlace

It was students’ low foot traffic and lack of interest, though, that led to the SAC MarketPlace’s hours being shortened from 8 PM to 5 PM. “We averaged 10 people eating at the MarketPlace after 5 pm. It is not sustainable to keep it open through the evening. Students are eating in other places,” Ennis said. 

Dining services had previously announced on August 8th that the MarketPlace was changing its format from a normal meal swipe exchange per restaurant station to a more “residential, one-swipe-to-go” option, similar to a buffet. Many students on social media were apprehensive about the change, noting that The Greenery, which replaced the popular EverGrains, just didn’t have the same appeal.

Quality speaks more than quantity, in this case. If you have the chance to go during normal, busier hours the variety of food gives you plenty of things to fill up your plate. However, since most of the food tends to sit in those wide chafing dishes, some of the meat and vegetables can get pretty dry if not routinely replaced.

Students care about where their money goes, and so the communication between dining and its vendors has to reflect that. If you’d like to learn more about U of L dining and its services, you can do so here

Wings, cornbread, fried plantains, and a brownie from the MarketPlace.

File Photos // The Louisville Cardinal //

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Over 40 companies and employers showcased at Fall 2022 College, Career, and Internship Fair Sunday, Oct 16 2022 

By Tate Luckey

Below are some photos collected during the University of Louisville’s Ulmer Career Center Fall 2022 College, Career and Internship Fair. Students had the opportunity to learn about unique graduate school programs as well as available jobs and internships from over 40 different companies.

Greg Priester, Employer Relations and Events Manager, said that “Connecting with employers can seem very stressful,  and so the Ulmer Career Center brings in the employers ahead of time. That way, by the time a career fair event does come up, you feel so much more comfortable talking to them. And we all know, especially after the past 2 years, that there’s some value in face to face or in person interactions.”

Priester also noted that students who attended events similar to these received praise from multiple companies due to their preparedness and willingness to take to to multiple companies.

The Ulmer Career Center has events all the way up to Thanksgiving, offering both virtual and in-person options. Couldn’t make it to the Fall fair? Don’t worry, the Spring College and Career Fair is currently set for February 9th.

File Photos // The Louisville Cardinal //

 

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Dayglow Talks Forecastle 2022, Bucc-ee’s, and Harmony House Tour Tuesday, May 31 2022 

By Tate Luckey

Sloan Struble’s first foray into music came in 2018 when he recorded Fuzzybrain entirely in his bedroom during his senior year. Now, touring as Dayglow, he has amassed a surprisingly dedicated following through social media sites like Tiktok, breaking through with his single “Can I Call You Tonight?”.

His set at Forecastle included songs from his 2018 album, Fuzzybrain, and his 2021 album, Harmony House. They also covered Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”. “Louisville! At least, that’s how the lady at the airport told me to say it. You guys are great! Maybe bring us back again sometime?”

Before his performance, Dayglow talked with The Louisville Cardinal.

 

Dayglow by Pooneh Ghana for Forecastle

 

I’m going to start by asking you the most important question that I can ask you, as a Texas native: is Bucc-ee’s really that good?

‘Oh yeah, man. It’s great. I currently reside in Austin, but there’s one when I drive to Dallas to visit my parents. It’s a big store, with very good food.”

I see I see, I was curious. Moving on to your music, I would describe your sound as sort of softer in instrumentation, but still energetic in rhythm. How do you translate that feeling into a live performance like at Forecastle?

“I think it’s all just about bringing that energy but having lots of fun. I love interacting with the crowd. I think that’s kind of the idea.”

Speaking of that level of interaction, it’s very interesting that you post videos on your YouTube channel of you breaking down the production of many of your songs. What made you decide to do that?

“Yeah! I find it’s fun to both analyze it and perform it. I know that there are plenty of songs that I hear that I wish were broken down, and I would find it a little bit upsetting if a person I listened to didn’t do that for me.”

 

Dayglow by Pooneh Ghana for Forecastle 2022

 

Your newest album, Harmony House, came out last year, and you’re here at Forecastle today. Can you talk a bit about what you have planned next?

“Well, for starters, there is more music I’m going to announce soon this year. But for right now, it’s mainly just a lot of touring, having fun.”

If you’d like to see more of Dayglow, you can check out their channel here, and site here. Their newest album, Harmony House, is out now.

Photo Courtesy // Forecastle Festival //

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KIRBY talks Forecastle 2022, Sis, He Wasn’t The One, and Stax Records Monday, May 30 2022 

By Tate Luckey

R&B and Soul artist, KIRBY

“We don’t funk with racism, we don’t funk with gun violence, and we damn sure don’t funk with the law telling women what to do with our bodies,” KIRBY said to the Forecastle crowd before moving to her next energetic song.

Mississippi native KIRBY opened with an empowering performance during Day 3 of Forecastle Festival, showcasing her groovy R&B sound from 2018’s Sis and 2021’s Sis, He Wasnt The One. After her show, The Louisville Cardinal sat down with KIRBY.

How is it being here for Forecastle? 

“I had some good vegan food. Any city that has a southern vegan place, I’m already thinking ‘Alright well I feel welcome,’ but the crowd was so nice! Even being earlier in the day, they were just in it ready to eat it up. I know [Louisville] is technically not the south, but to me, it felt like the south.” 

Yeah, it’s a pretty big topic of debate, especially with Louisville being so close to Indiana. The rest of the state has more of a southern identity.

“Yeah, and Indiana is literally across the river, that’s the wild!”

What did think of your show specifically? Were you kind of nervous to go out?

“This is my first time with musicians, but they killed it. We did a tour with John Legend last year, and Pink Sweats, and so I normally use both of their dancers. ”

I would agree you did great! In doing a bit of research about you, I was surprised to learn you helped co-write 2015’s FourFiveSeconds with Ye, Rihanna and Paul McCartney. Can you talk about what it was like to share the songwriting process with them?

“Sure, it was really a lot of 1 on 1 experience. The song wasn’t too good for Ye, but it was good for Ri Ri. I didn’t even know that was going to be the end result, but she killed it. As a songwriter, you kinda dream of moments like that. Kanye was part of the reason why I’m doing what I do now, and so to give back to someone who gave so much to you, and for Rhianna to put out a guitar-driven song, it was dope to be a part of. I’ve never done a live cover of it, and everyone was singing their asses off! The whole crowd! I remember thinking ‘This is what it must feel like’. I was ready for them to sing just the hook, but they started off at the first verse.”

The aesthetic of your show; it gave off very heavy Soul Train vibes. Can you talk a bit about translating the sound of your records to the stage?

“Choosing the little things, that’s the most fun part, especially like the choices of what to play in the back. You don’t want to exactly make it a copy [of soul], but I find you need artists to, in a way, pay tribute to a dying art. You need to in some ways make it seem fresh.”

Definitely. I found it very empowering for anyone listening.  

“I always want [my live shows] to come off as people empowerment. I want people to leave feeling like ‘I’m bad as shit.’ Sis, He Wasn’t The One was me detailing the whole truth. I felt like for me not to tell that part was me not telling the whole story. It’s a bit of a transitional record. I really really feel my best on stage. If you don’t leave and feel like you’re the baddest or feeling the best version of yourself, or seen; I want to give people that.”

Well, what’s next?

“We’re still working on a project, and I’m excited to make a bigger sound. I feel like I still don’t have a record where people are like “Ugh, it made me cry;’ I’m ready to lean more into emotionality.”“We also have a tour with Leon Bridges coming up, in Europe. I know that’ll change me as an artist, performing those songs in front of those kinds of crowds.”

 

Kirby by Roger Ho for Forecastle

 

The theme of Forecastle Festival 2022 this year was to “be naturally awesome“. In what ways do you embody that, or how can others try to be their most naturally awesome?

“I put myself out there when it seems like no one’s clapping. I feel like in some ways younger people these days feel kind of suffocated by social media. ‘If my video doesn’t get a million views, why even post it,’ right? Being naturally awesome is just being persistent in whatever your truth is and not wavering because people aren’t responding. It sounds cliche, but there is not another you! I can interview with 10 other people, and the interview won’t be the same. You’ve gotta know that that has value.”

‘I met a dude from Tame Impala, I couldn’t quite identify if it was Kevin [Parker], but he asked me what time I performed. I said I opened today at 2:30, and he told me he headlined last night! Regardless, we both shared the same elevator.”

That’s a really good perspective to have, especially right now.

“Right!”

I do want to ask- you also aren’t currently signed to a label, right? Are there any struggles with being a more independent artist? 

“The biggest thing about having a label is having the money, period. The money and the marketing. Nowadays marketing is all TikTok, but it’s mainly just about the bank. Like saying “I want a sound guy or pay my dancers the top rate.” it’s less about me. My whole team is black and I want to pay them the top tier. When you’re independent it’s hard. Sometimes you can’t give them what a label artist can give, and that’s why it’s important to support your independent artists. They want to get the best and also pay them the best.”

Can you elaborate a bit more, as to how your team was assembled? Was it kind of through people you knew, or?

“No no no. I found my manager before Pink Sweats really blew up- I was trying to get on the Spotify playlists, and I saw Pink was on the cover of the R&B playlist, and at the time he had maybe 9000 listeners. This is back when Honesty has just come out. I said to myself “This guy- he’s a black guy, only 9000 followers and is on the cover– he has to have a team.“ I found his manager through some research and DM’d him, sent him my discography, basically asked if he would be willing to have a meeting with me. I’m not ashamed. Even on my tour with John Legend I had just tweeted asking “Somone tell him to let me open for him!” A lot of being independent has been the hustle of just asking for help.”

Well, if you have an opening on your press team…

“[Laughs] Well, then we’d have to pay you!”

Right. Well, let’s pivot back to your music. It has an incredible energy and groove; how did you go about capturing that?

“I grew up in Mississippi, but similar to Indiana’s proximity [to Kentucky], I just would drive to Memphis, near Stax.”

Oh ok, very very cool! I’ve been to their record museum. 

“Yeah! So when you think of my costumes and hair, that’s all from [artists like] Isaac Hayes, Carla Thomas. They would come out in bright colors, sharp. It’s this Black afro-futurism. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the documentary for WattsStax, but I’m heavily influenced by Black artists from that period. I feel like just being a kid growing up in that area, too, it’s kind of in my blood.”

I get that. Moving to the present, what artists have you been listening to currently?

“Man, my brain is completely engulfed in Kendrick Lamar right now. Still trying to process that album. Sam Dew is one of my favorite artists. I gotta get into IDK; I just saw his Tiny Desk. There’s this girl called Layah. Fire. She does all her videos and designs. Fire.”

Being more noteworthy on sites now like Tiktok, and starting from your A Song a Day’s you used to post on YouTube, does it feel weird to be that close to interacting with your audience?

“I think I need to be more live. I can’t just hang out and talk, like on Instagram Live, you know? I’m very 1 on 1 and try to be engaging. I’m the friend in my friend circle who people call to tell about their problems.”

You’re like a sponge!

“Yeah, I’m the listener, I soak it all up. I think it’s a lot of pressure to make something like a Tiktok Dance, and it’s a bit abusive to artists to make it seem like that’s the only way to get big. There are more than one ways to try to get to the top.”

You can check out more of Kirby here on her Instagram and Twitter. Her newest record, Sis, He Wasn’t The One, is available now.

Photo Courtesy // Forecastle Festival //

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The Homies talk about the “Louisville Sound”, Shake, and their “Louisville Mount Rushmore” Monday, May 30 2022 

By Tate Luckey

Some consider Homies the 502’s next big rap group. They have close ties to Jack Harlow who headlined May 26, having opened for him during his “No Place Like Home” tour back in December. They have steadily built up a following with the locals, opening the first day of Forecastle Festival.

Before their show, The Homies sat down with The Louisville Cardinal to answer questions about their upcoming work and the pride they have for their city.

The group consists of Shloob, rapper/artist; Quiiso, the designated singer/songwriter for their hooks/melodies; Ace Pro, who takes on more lead visual creator roles, and 2forwOyNE, lead producer and engineer.

When you think about typical hip hop city “sounds”, they all are pretty defined. You have the East Coast with groups like A Tribe Called Quest, West Coast with producers like Suge Knight, or even Atlanta with groups like Outkast and TI. What defines the “Louisville Sound?”

Ace Pro – “It’s kind of funny, you mention collectives like Tribe. What the ‘Louisville sound’ is just kinda getting started, steadily evolving. You have artists like Bryson Tiller, EST Gee, and Harlow; With us, it’s more borrowing inspiration from lots of different places. We do have an identity, and try to color outside of the lines a lot.”

The Homies by Nathan Zucker for Forecastle

What is it about Louisville as a city to you that is so special?

2forwOyNE – “The city of Louisville is based on a sense of pride- we originally come from the home of Muhammad Ali, so it’s just the natural-born philanthropy and having the pride of being somebody from not that big of an ego city. It’s rare for someone to come here, make it to where we’re heading, we try to put the city on our back.”

Shloob – “Everybody here knows everybody. Everyone has groups of friends/cliques; we represent the group/brotherhood culture. I feel like we’re gonna make it catch on, it’s pretty cool.”

Let’s pivot to your newest music video that dropped, Shake, and your newest album. Can you detail a bit about the songwriting process? Do the verses come first, then the melody? Does someone in the group lead more of the creative control?

Ace Pro – “The Shake video was comprised of the vibe that we feel the song gives. It has that early 2000s bounce. We wanted to reflect that with a Hype Williams-esque video. So we have the fish eye, we have the light tunnel, and we built that up from scratch. We had a good team around us that helped build everything, but everything else comes straight from us.”

Quiiso – “The recording process for that song, we were winding down during a recording session, and wOyNE just started making a beat and I put that first verse out there. As far as our recording process for that song, it’s pretty organic, but sometimes some of us write before we hear anything, and sometimes we’re rapping as the beat is coming out. We’re trying to get more in a process of fluidity. As things are being made, hooks are written, someone’s doing this…everyone’s doing something.”

Do you guys get nervous at all performing? What’s next after Forecastle Festival?

Shloob – “I feel like it’s situational. For me, I’m used to performing, it’s like muscle memory, but if it’s winging it, I’m a bundle of nerves. Some people take shots, or meditate/pray. It’s situational.”

The Homies by Nathan Zucker for Forecastle

Last question for you guys: If you had to make a Louisville Mount Rushmore, who’s on it?

Ace Pro – “Well I mean, it’s gotta be Quiiso, Ace, Shloob, and 2fo.”

2fo – “Facts, haha.”

Ace Pro – “No, but, if we weren’t being biased, we’d say Static Major, Bryson Tiller, Jack, and… then the Homies, again.”

No Muhammad Ali?

Ace Pro – “Oh! I thought you were just talking about music. My bad, then uh, York (Lewis and Clark), Ali, Static Major, and Jennifer Lawrence. Diane Sawyer.

Shloob – “Charles too man, shoutout Charles Booker.”

More about The Homies can be found here. Their latest album, Honest Living, is available to listen to now.

Photo Courtesy // Forecastle Festival //

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“Spring Shorts” plays showcase fun, creative theatre Friday, Apr 15 2022 

By Tate Luckey —

This weekend marks the second and final run of the Playhouse Theatre’s “Spring Shorts,” a collection of seven 10-15 minute plays written by university students. Directed by Geoffrey Nelson, many of the plays deal with topics ranging from aging parents to self-acceptance to Black Mirror-esque takes on the dangers of technology.

Act 1 of the “Spring Shorts” showing

The show is broken into two acts, with a brief intermission. I particularly enjoyed the lighted humor and fourth wall break of Ross Just’s murder mystery “Curtain Call.” Flora Schildnecht’s “The Violin Lesson” is a powerful take on how degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia can sneak up on aging parents, resulting in family conflict. Katie Swain’s “The Proposal” starts act two off with a bait and switch in what a relationship proposal can truly mean.

Act 2 of the “Spring Shorts” showing

To find out more about the show and playwrights or actors, click here.

If you’d like to sign up to attend any of the April 14-16 showings, you can do so here. There are 50 spots available each night with masks and proof of vaccination are required. If you’d like to donate to the Theatre Arts Program, you can do so here.

File Photos // U of L Theatre Arts Program //

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“Cards Got Talent” spotlights exciting student talent Tuesday, Mar 29 2022 

By Tate Luckey —

Courtney Bolt performing her original song “Quarterlife Crisis”

The University of Louisville’s Student Activities Board put together the 2nd annual Cards Got Talent show. Hosted by Haley Gumm and Maliyah Spencer, the show was meant to allow students to have fun and display what makes them unique.

Around 60 students attended to watch 8 students display their talents in a variety of ways, including Courtney Bolt performing her original song “Quarterlife Crisis,” and Jacob Lyon’s dazzling magic/yoyo tricks. The clear audience favorites were the 3 group performances by Cardinal Saathiya, Cardinal Bhangra and K’Motion (a K-Pop dance group).

Cardinal Bhangra performing their dance at the 2nd Annual Cards Got Talent Show

The show was judged by Quanta Taylor (Executive Director of Student Involvement), Leondra Gully (Director of Black and Multiracial Initiatives), Ugonna Okorie (Student Government Association Student Body president) and Dr. Amy Acklin (Director of the Cardinal Marching Band and Pep Band). Maliyah Blevins took 3rd place, and Jacob Lyons won both 2nd prize and The People’s Choice award.

In the end, it was Cardinal Bhangra who took first prize. “They’re always so good, it’s like, give the little guy a chance. It’s a small business type of thing. [Cardinal Bhangra] kills it at every event they’re at,” an anonymous sophomore said.

Miss the live stream? You can watch it here, on the SAB Youtube channel.

The next SAB event is the Spring Concert, featuring Flo Milli, at Old Forester’s Paristown Hall. Tickets can be bought here for $15.

Photos by Anthony Riley // The Louisville Cardinal

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2022 raiseRED dance marathon raises over $500,000 Monday, Feb 28 2022 

By Tate Luckey —

All 1000 raiseRED dancers performing the line dance at raiseRED 2022.

raiseRED’s 2022 dance marathon fundraised $524,895.22 over the weekend for pediatric cancer research and treatment. While this was more than last year’s total of $507,000, it was clear that the event was about more than just money.

“Even if we raised $5,000, it’s still more than what Kosair had planned for their budget. The numeric amount raised doesn’t matter,” said Aysha Puzhakkaraillath, sponsorship coordinator for raiseRED.

Among those present to speak at the event included Interim President Lori Gonzalez, numerous professors and faculty and Patrick McSweeny, a junior in the school of nursing who battled Leukemia at the age of 5.

“I survived, but it comes with a cost. I lost so much weight, my lungs are affected; the point is, we need better treatments, and we need to be able to give the kids life after cancer. I’m probably one of the lucky ones, as crazy as it sounds. The reality of cancer is that not everyone makes it. The people that do still have issues that affect them for the rest of their lives,” he said.

A dancer at raiseRED shaves his head for pediatric oncology research.

The top fundraising student organizations were the Indian Student Association (3rd place), SOAR (2nd place) and Porter Scholars (1st place). The top fraternities included Phi Delta Theta (3rd), Sigma Phi Epsilon (2nd) and Sigma Chi (1st). The top sororities were Chi Omega (3rd), Kappa Delta (2nd) and Pi Beta Phi (1st). Among the top colleges were the J.B Speed School of Engineering (3rd), the College of Business (2nd) and the School of Nursing (1st).

“I’m exhausted, but the work has been worth it. A lot of money has been raised for a good cause. This effort has been months leading into what we have, but this was such a strong last push. All 18 hours have been what this is all about,” Sigma Chi member Ethan Shain said.

raiseRED has opened up applications to be on their Executive Board of Directors for 2023, which close Mar. 5. Applications to be an Executive Board Coordinator open on Mar. 20. If you’d like to donate to raiseRED, you can do so here.

File Photos // The Louisville Cardinal //

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RaiseRED aims to return to form ahead of 2022 dance marathon Friday, Feb 25 2022 

By Tate Luckey — 

RaiseRED is the University of Louisville’s largest student-run philanthropic organization, supporting the pediatric clinical and medical research efforts at the University of Louisville. Half of the donations from raiseRED directly benefit the research of the University of Louisville School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics’ Division of Hematology and Oncology.

The other 50% goes to the Norton Children’s Cancer Institute to provide services for the children and their families going through treatment.

To become a dancer, students had to register online and raise $200 by February 24th. If they raised over $1000, raiseRED would match up to $500 of the amount. Merchandise, including a cool sand-colored “Louisville, Kentucky” hoodie and “Kids Can’t Wait” beanies, can also be bought online here.

What’s Different This Year

Executive Director DeAsia King described how the event differs from last year. “Due to COVID-19, raiseRED was more of a hybrid format – split across the week for around 3 hours every day, with a virtual option too. Now we’re back in person – 18 hours total, meaning we start at 6 pm on Friday, up until the total reveal at 12 pm on that Saturday,” she said. 

Photo: raisered.org

Drew Grimm, one of the two programming directors for raiseRED and junior chemical engineering major, detailed some of the more exciting events planned.

We have three exciting Themed Hours planned for this year’s marathon including a “University of Louisville Athletics Hour” where our dancers and kids all dress up in jerseys and athletics gear to play dodgeball, sing Karaoke, and participate in trivia! We also have a “Pajama Party Hour“, where, similarly, our dancers will dress in their PJs while they participate in the Price is Right, learn the Line Dance, and have their midnight snack! Finally, we have our “Through the Decades Hour,” which is presented by UPS where dancers will wear their best 70s, 80s or 90s gear and rock out to some decades music, play laser tag, volleyball, corn hole and more.” 

Additionally, Alani Nu is sponsoring a silent disco, and several university representatives, clinic workers and doctors will share their connection with raiseRED and how our organization has impacted them through the 18 hours. 

The Impact

Photo: raiseRED.org

While Grimm has only been to one marathon, the impact the experience had on him was immense. “I loved watching the smiles on these kids’ faces as they danced and sang their hearts out during the Kid Talent Show! It was during this moment that I knew I had to get more involved in this organization. I now have 2 Cardinal Crew buddies and they are my pride and joy and my motivation for all the work I put into this organization each day!”

For fundraising coordinator Katie Hayden, counting up the total during the Week of Hope campaign with Valerie Tran, the finance director, was super exciting. “We raised over 50k,” she said. King ended up starting a smaller version of the marathon at Charlestown High School, her alma mater, alongside her two sisters. “Helping plant the seed there, to me, is very fulfilling,” she said. 

RaiseRED has raised over $3 million in the past 7 years. If you’d like to learn more and donate, you can do so here.

File Photos // raiseRED // 

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