When I think of the all-nighters, tequila shots and MSG-laced lo mein that define my life at Yale I think of one thing: health. While your most pressing health concern might be fighting off the freshmen or sophomore or junior 15, around the world, basic health care needs such as vaccines are not met. While we’re cramming for that final (or cramming in that last grass-fed burger), treatable diseases such as malaria and TB continue to kill millions. Tobacco and unhealthy foods, too, are creating a third-world epidemic of chronic diseases.

Now that you feel terrible about yourself, listen up! There is a way to reconcile your immense appetite for fun with your desire to make a difference in the world. It is what I’d like to call iDance.

iDance is the biggest event to come to Yale since Raffi — nay, bigger for iDance is not Canadian. iDance for Global Health is a night of activities for fun and education. It wraps up a week of intriguing events that you won’t want to miss.

A dance marathon does not mean that everyone has to be on his or her feet for 12 hours straight or raise $100 (though some will). It does mean that you can come learn how the ordinary person can get involved in global human rights from a UNICEF celebrity ambassador and maybe even see that celebrity’s latest dance moves. It does mean that you can actually learn to salsa with that girl who has been begging you to take lessons or win an iPod Touch during a raffle or trivia game. And it literally means a chance at life for the many people who will then have access to potable water and anti-retroviral drugs as a result of donations from the event.

Ever been to a dance that advertises the event will raise money for a cause, but you have no idea what the money is actually doing?

One distinctive feature of these events will be the synergy of discussion and student action. The week of events will be complemented and supported by the dance marathon that aims to raise money for Partners in Health in Rwanda and Amman Imman in Niger. Student groups frequently sponsor informative speakers, but individual students are often unable to turn this excitement into positive contributions. Student support of iDance and Global Health Week will make this a memorable event for all involved.

Patrick McCarthy is a senior in junior in Morse College. He is the event leader of iDance.