On Tuesday, nearly 400 Colgate students participated in Up ‘Til Dawn, a letter-writing campaign to solicit money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
This year’s Up ‘Til Dawn program was led by senior Pat O’Brien and an Executive Board of 21 student members advised by Assistant Director of Residential Education and Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Kelly Opipari.
Several student groups worked together on the event, including Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta, Delta Delta Delta, Sigma Chi, Phi Delta Theta, Beta Theta Pi, Phi Kappa Tau, Delta Upsilon, various Link groups, Students for Social Justice and the Colgate Jewish Union.
“We hope to have the biggest Up ‘Til Dawn in national history,” O’Brien said of this year’s event. “Our first event netted about 400 people in attendance, which is unheard of in a school our size. We are trying to make about $70,000.”
Up ‘Til Dawn raises funds that help St. Jude’s doctors and researchers continue their life-saving treatments and research. St. Jude’s is America’s third largest healthcare charity.
This summer, members of the Up ‘Til Dawn Executive Board visited the hospital to learn more about the organization they were raising money for and to learn how best to plan an efficient and successful program.
“Going to St. Jude’s was a life changing experience,” senior Executive Board Recruitment Captain Amber Gregario said.
“Being there gave me incredible drive to raise money for St. Jude and remembering those kids has helped me push through hectic times when it would have been easier to skip a meeting or neglect to remind people aboutgetting teamstogether,” she continued.
O’Brien also became involved with the fundraiser because of personal reasons.
“I got involved after a friend’sfather, who was like a second father to me, passed away from cancer,” O’Brien said. “A few days later I was asked to join the Exec Board andasked to lead the program. I participated as a letter writer in mysophomore year, also.”
For the last few months, the board worked to increase participation in the annual event.
“Last year, we had about 200 [participants] and this year we doubled that amount,” Gregorio said. “The Exec Board was much better organized and we set our fund-raising goals higher. We tried to think of a way to reach every student on campus: first-years through their link groups, half of upperclassmen through Greek life and we also contacted every student organization on campus and tried to get them to form a team.”
“Those in charge of Up ‘Til Dawn made it a simple and easy process,” sophomore Gamma Phi Beta member and first-time participant Emily Rafferty said.
“All you had to do was come up with addresses on your own, address an envelope and sign your name,” she added. “Even if you only send outfive letters, the money raised fromthose couldmakea difference in some child’s life at St. Jude’s; and knowing you can help in one child’s struggle makes the time you take completely worthwhile.”