SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Last year's "Up 'til 2" program at Slippery Rock University raised more than $73,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and won the hospital's Program of the Year award. This year's event, which opens at 8 tonight, hopes to do even better, according to Selby Majewski, Center for Student Leadership and Involvement graduate assistant and adviser to the program planners.
The event's executive board has set a $75,000 goal.
The late-night event will be in the Aebersold Student Recreation Center.
"Last year, we had 900 participants, and this year we have more than 550 already signed up and walk-ins will be welcome," Majewski said. Additional signs up are being accepted online today at: http://www.stjude.org/utd, with anyone welcome to join the program.
All money raised supports St. Jude's mission of providing treatment for children with cancer and other diseases at no cost to their families.
Participants register for $5 and complete pre-written letters to their family and friends asking for donations and raising awareness for the hospital. "Not only is it a great cause, but there will be fun and entertainment until 2 a.m.," Majewski said. "The more letters you write, the more tickets you get to be entered in a raffle for great prizes, including a $200 Visa gift card."
In addition to the letter-writing campaign, there will be entertainment throughout the evening, including laser tag, a photo booth, face painting, henna, Zumba, a hypnotist, crafts to make and send to the hospital, and more.
Teams can also compete in a trivia contest at 9:45 p.m.
Participants are urged to bring their address books.
Nationwide, hundreds of colleges and universities host similar "Up 'til Dawn" programs to benefit the hospital founded in 1962 by the late entertainer Danny Thomas. His daughter Marlo, known for her television roles, including the lead on "That Girl," continues the work as national outreach director.
Nearly 20,000 children from the U.S. and 70 countries have been treated for various forms of cancer, sickle cell disease and pediatric HIV-AIDS at the hospital since its founding. The current cure rate stands at more than 70 percent.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.