October 29, 2010

Up til Dawn to raise funds for St. Jude hospital

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Up til Dawn at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is something like a big party with a purpose.

Hundreds of students will gather Nov. 13 to enjoy a variety of fun activities while raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. A national, student-led philanthropic program, Up til Dawn premiered at SIUC in 2009. The more than 800 students who participated raised more than $44,000 for the hospital dedicated to research, treatment and elimination of childhood cancer and catastrophic illnesses.

This year, organizers hope for even more participants and their goal is to bring in $75,000 for St. Jude’s. Jessica Stout of Taylorville is the student director for the University’s Up til Dawn 2010. She said the hospital’s daily operating cost is nearly $1.5 million and families of the children treated pay no treatment costs not covered by insurance. Stout and the other 30 undergraduate and graduate students in the Registered Student Organization are encouraging all SIUC students to be part of the fundraising effort at the Student Recreation Center.

The doors open at 8:30 p.m. and participants can start their fundraising efforts then. All should bring the addresses of at least 20 family members and friends. That’s the “entry fee” for Up til Dawn, and upon arrival participants will address pre-written request letters to family and friends, asking for donations for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The rest of the night, until 3 a.m., is a celebration of the students’ effort on behalf of a worthy organization, Stout said. There will be free food -- pizza, subs, snacks and drinks. Students can join in the dodgeball, volleyball and basketball tournaments. There’s even a rock band video game tournament. Participants will register for the events that evening.

The second annual Ebony and Ivory Greek Show takes place during Up til Dawn, too. Illustrating the diversity that is SIUC, campus fraternities and sororities will dance together in the traditional “black and white dance.”

Students will also enjoy inflatables and a live rock band playing 70s and 80s music. There are prizes too, including two book scholarships and an Apple iPod Touch.

You can pre-register for Up til Dawn at the Student Development Office on the third floor of the Student Center. For more information about the event or to get a registration form via e-mail, contact Stout at jesstout@siu.edu.

Stout said participants can register in teams of five or more or as individuals and they’ll create groups. Those who register early are eligible for additional prizes as are those who send out 35 or more solicitation letters on behalf of the hospital.

The theme of the 2010 SIUC Up til Dawn is “Rock N Roll Out Childhood Cancer.”