Students Stay Up Late for Cancer

Geoff Guenther

On Tuesday night, students gathered in the O’Connor Campus Center (Coop), drinking coffee and preparing to stay up late, but not for schoolwork. They were there writing letters to friends and family asking for support for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.”Up ’til Dawn” is a national program run by St. Jude at colleges across the country. “Fight the yawn – stay awake to cure childhood cancer” is the program’s motto, and the many students who participated took that to heart while listening to music and getting to business writing letters. Posters of some of the children who have been helped by St. Jude lined the walls of the Coop as students huddled around tables writing letter after letter.Colgate has participated in the “Up ’til Dawn” program since the 2004-05 academic year.”We’re working to be one of the top colleges in the area for donations in Colgate’s name,” member of the “Up ’til Dawn” Executive Board senior Annemarie Papandrea said.Groups of students from various organizations on campus, including all of the Greek letter houses, various athletic teams, Sister to Sister and Outdoor Education, as well as other students who just wanted to help out, all came out in support.”It’s fun to get so many people on the Colgate campus involved in this,” Executive Board member and President of Kappa Alpha Theta, junior Jessica Johnson said. “It’s great to see all of my sisters out here tonight, I’m proud of them.””DU [Delta Upsilon] has so far had the most donated money sent back to St. Jude in their name,” Papandrea said, speaking of past “Up ’til Dawns.” “We recognize the winner during Spring Party Weekend with an award.””Everyone tries to beat DU,” Johnson said, “the competition makes it more fun.”Located in Memphis, Tennessee, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is one of the world’s premier pediatric hospitals and research facilities, and is known for its groundbreaking cancer research and treatment.The hospital is the only pediatric cancer center to pay for any cost of a patient’s treatment not covered by insurance, regardless of the family’s financial situation. They also pay for patients from all across the country to come to them for treatment. This is why donations areso important.”We’re fighting children’s diseases one letter at a time,” Johnson said beforegetting back to her table and writing.Letter writers reach out to many Colgate-associated constituencies.”It’s a really great cause,” Johnson said. Theta members contact every one of their alumnae asking for donations to the hospital.Panandrea believes that this form of outreach has resulted in continued growth since the event was first held at Colgate.”We’re making more money in Colgate’s name every year and we hope to continue that trend,” Papandrea said.