Western Michigan University offers over 400 registered student organizations that students can get involved in. The Student Media Group, comprised of the Western Herald, Young Broadcasters of Tomorrow and 89.1 WIDR FM will be hosting RSO Spotlight to inform the student body of the different organizations on campus.
You can find the accompanying video to this article on YouTube at YBOT WMU, and you can listen to the feature on 89.1 WIDR FM.
Movement Exchange is a Registered Student Organization at Western Michigan University that serves and unites people through dance.
“Movement Exchange is an organization that unites dance and service through its network of university chapters, international dance exchanges, and year around programs in underserved communities,” Movement Exchange President Madelyn Donovan said.
The Western Michigan University chapter of Movement Exchange is one of 23 chapters and has been on WMU’s campus for three years, according to Donovan.
Movement Exchange aims to unite people through dance and service with programs located locally and internationally, according to Movement Exchange Treasurer Kami Miller. In Kalamazoo, Movement Exchange brings its programs to different organizations such as preschools, middle schools and assisted living facilities, Miller said. According to Miller, Movement Exchange puts on weekly events in addition to one time events. They traveled to hospitals, Girl Scouts, and internationally to Panama, which is an annual trip, according to Miller.
While in Panama, Miller said Movement Exchange visits different orphanages and at-risk communities providing free dance education. In exchange, Movement Exchange members also get to learn Panamanian dance, or have an opportunity to participate in different classes like yoga, according to Donovan.
Both Donovan and Miller have been a part of Movement Exchange for three years. Teachers of Movement Exchange call themselves dance diplomats, Donovan said. According to Donovan, a dance diplomat is someone who utilizes their passion for dance to make positive social change.
“Whenever I get to serve these preschoolers, or these old people in the nursing home, just to see how dance affects them in such a joyous way and changes how their attitude is, it changes my own attitude and it’s just very rewarding to see people kind of break out of their shell,” Donovan said.
Donovan said one of her favorite memories with Movement Exchange was traveling to Panama. She said that because she doesn’t know Spanish, she enjoys learning how to communicate and build relationships without language.
“That’s the biggest learning curve, but also like the most rewarding part to like really build friendships,” Donovan said.
Through traveling to Panama, Donovan was able to make a friend with a 12-year-old girl who is now her pen pal.
“Because I went two years in a row, she remembered me the next year,” Donovan said. “It’s bigger than dance, although we are using dance.”
Miller reflects on the connections that she has made with those she has encountered through Movement Exchange and the ways in which those programs have been able to brighten people’s day.
“It’s an amazing thing,” Miller said.
After traveling to Panama for two years, she enjoys seeing how the kids they have met previously have changed in the span of a year. She said it’s amazing knowing that dance was able to do that for them.
Donovan said it is such special work because they are giving people something invaluable.
“We’re offering them something that’s within themselves, that they can always count on,” Donovan said.
Students interested in Movement Exchange do not have to be experienced in dance.
“I always say it’s, you know, it’s more of like a passion for people and serving others,” Donovan said. “And, we just do that through dance.”
Movement Exchange will hold their next meeting on Monday Nov. 13. They meet every other Monday on the third floor of the Dalton Center on campus in studio C at 6:30 p.m.