SRU students staying ‘Up ‘til Dawn’ to support St. Jude
Jan. 22, 2016
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University students often find themselves awake long after most of us have already turned in for the night. Whether it's cramming for a big test or working on a research paper, burning the midnight oil is commonplace across the University campus.
However, when SRU students stay "Up 'til Dawn" Feb. 6 from 12-6 a.m., they will be doing so to support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
The "Up 'til Dawn" event, now in its 10th year, will seek to raise $20,000 for Memphis, Tennessee-based St. Jude, which annually treats more than 7,500 children suffering from childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. More than 75 percent of St. Jude's funding comes from public contributions. Families do not receive a bill for treatment, nor pay for travel or housing.
"It is a great way to help others, and have fun at the same time," said Samantha Rivet, a business management major from Twinsburg, Ohio, who serves as the "Up 'til Dawn" fundraising director. "It's a blast, and you're so tired by the end, but it's well worth it. It's so much fun to give back."
Using "Cancer Never Sleeps" as the event slogan, participating students must each raise $100 to compete in hourly activities and challenges in support of St. Jude patients.
"One of the events is a head shaving contest," said Rivet. "That is done by putting spare money into a jar to determine who collects the most money. Whoever collects the most money, loses their hair, which a lot of the children being treated at St. Jude have happen as a result of their treatments."
The event, which previously saw donations reach upwards of $60,000, has witnessed declining financial support. According to Rivet, this year's current total is $12,281, with more to be collected.
In prior years, the event committee would stage a one-night letter writing campaign seeking donations from family and friends. However, according to Rivet, the format was changed by St. Jude to have the event focus more as a celebration, than a solicitation.
Meghan Cain, an early childhood education major from Twinsburg, Ohio, serves as executive director for the event. As a future teacher, Cain said she has a soft spot in her heart for sick children.
"Cancer has touched almost everyone's life," said Cain. "For me, to think of a child having to go through that, it makes it 10 times worse. People should step up in order to help with something bigger than them. It's the greatest way to help people who are less fortunate than you, and it doesn't take a lot of effort."
"To see children struggle really gets to me," said Rivet. "They're sitting in a hospital, unable to run around with their friends. Their struggles really touch my heart and make me want to help."
Rivet pointed out that operating St. Jude's is an expensive endeavor. The hospital's daily operating budget is roughly $2 million.
"When you consider what we're trying to accomplish with our event, if we're able to raise $25,000, we're only talking about covering about 15 minutes of their daily operation," said Rivet.
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