'Up 'til Dawn' celebrates fundraising for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital


Attendees of "Up 'Til Dawn" take advantage of a photo opportunity Feb. 22 at the Bovee University Center Rotunda.

Midnight is an interesting time for a college campus - especially on a Friday night. 

There might be some commotion within the residence halls, but besides a few stragglers outside, the university grounds become quiet and still. The same quietness appeared to be true for the Bovee University Center on Feb. 22, but the party was just beginning inside the Rotunda room.

St. Jude's Up ‘til Dawn Ultimate Pajama Party was held from 11:45 p.m. to 6 a.m. Feb. 22-23 to celebrate students who have raised at least $100 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Almost $19,000 has been raised for the hospital by students' fundraising.

"I hope (attendees) always have a memory that during their college years, they were part of this amazing opportunity to raise awareness and funds and do something positive," said Karen Arthur, director of business student services and co-adviser for Up 'til Dawn.

The night consisted of games, music, food, caricature artists, After Hours Improv, On the Rox A Cappella, student cancer survivor testimonies and a hypnotist performance by Josh Sawdon.

"I think it's really cool that they have all these events and entertainment for the people that were able to donate, raise money and attend," said Illinois junior Myranda Richied. "I (stayed up until six) last year, and it was surprisingly easy with all the stuff they held and have planned."

Although the night was full of fun activities, the event was not without its own purpose to bring attention to children battling cancer and the families that stay up for their sick children.

"I've complained about going right from work to do this, but kids never get a break," said Up 'til Dawn student organization chair Stephanie Harig. "(The kids and families) have (to stay up) every night, so it puts a lot of things into perspective."  

In addition to searching for a cure for cancer, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital's mission is to provide free care for patients, so that families and patients can undergo treatment without being more weighed down by finances. 

Danny Thomas, founder of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, is quoted for saying, "no child should die in the dawn of life." From this quote, students across the nation created the Up 'til Dawn program with the motto “cancer doesn’t sleep, so neither should we.”

"I think (St. Jude is) a great cause for kids that need help with their cancer and any donations we can get for them is really helpful," said West Branch freshman Mason Veltman. "I think (this event) has been pretty interesting to see what they can do to keep the night fun."

For students, six hours was a small price for a night of activities and above all, a worthy cause. Georgina Main, pre-major academic adviser and co-adviser for Up 'til Dawn, hopes that on top of "having a blast", attendees walked away with a new perspective.

"I hope (students) develop a passion and know they can make a difference," Main said. "The fact that they chose to give back is really important. I think it says a lot about CMU that our students want to stay up all night for someone else."

If you're interested in donating to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, click here.