Up 'Till Dawn takes fundraising to new levels

By Tanya Giraldo
On January 30, 2014

Whether it is by collecting money in the Reng Student Union or running for a cure, students have seen charity events of all types at A-State. But what is scheduled for Friday is promised to be very different, according to Jameson Murrey, executive director of Up ‘Til Dawn.

“(Up ‘Till Dawn) is a student run organization that focuses on fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” Murrey said.

In the past, the student-led philanthropic program has organized letter-writing events to encourage St. Jude donations, Murrey said. But Friday’s event, Stay Up For Good, is much more than a fundraiser.

“It is a celebration,” Murrey said. “Kind of like a ‘Thank you’ from us for taking the time, as poor college students, to contribute to the organization.”

According to publicity chair Ellen Hakenewerth, the Stay Up for Good event, hosted by Up ‘Til Dawn, was an idea introduced by St. Jude.

“St. Jude introduced the new idea to us and we ran with it,” Hakenewerth said. “Our entire executive board has dedicated so much of their time to prepare for Friday night, and I know it will be nothing short of a huge success.”

The event consists of getting teams of six together to stay up until 6 a.m. Saturday morning, starting Friday night at 11 p.m. in Centennial Hall. Registration is open until the beginning of the event and students are required to send 25 e-mails to non-ASU students in efforts to gain donors for St. Jude. Students are also encouraged to raise $100 for the event, but are not required.

“This is going to be the event of the year,” Hakenewerth said. “There will be tons of fun and active events that students will participate in, but those won’t be revealed until that night.”

What Murrey did let slip was the opening ceremony, which will include a DJ, photo booth and a special speaker, as well as many challenges throughout the night that will raise a lot of competition. Staying up will prove to be easy since Red Bull is helping sponsor the event.

“Not only are we celebrating contribution, but the stay-up is in commemoration of parents who stay up for St. Jude patients,” Murrey said.

Murrey said there will also be a “shave down” in which eight ASU students have volunteered to raise money. Whoever raises the most will shave their head in remembrance of the St. Jude patients—the slogan being “bald is beautiful.”

The night is full of surprises, but the best surprise of all has come directly from St. Jude itself, according to Hakenewerth.

“This is the first year that St. Jude has done an event like this, which is a huge deal in itself, but to top it all off, they selected our campus as the one school in the nation to be nationally publicized and (they will) come to our event to use it for recruiting purposes in the future,” she said. “I am blown away by this honor. We can’t wait to show them how invested the student body is in Staying Up for Good.”

Murrey said as of Tuesday 287 people had signed up, and she expects more will sign up on Friday.

“It’s a great way to interact with other students,” Murrey said. “It is a good cause.”

According to the Up ‘Til Dawn page in the A-State website, weeks of planning and preparation culminate when the ASU campus hosts Stay Up For Good. For Murrey, it’s all about getting more people engaged with St. Jude.

“We really want to get ASU students involved,” Murrey said. “People who start working with St. Jude at a young age usually become lifetime supporters.”

As for the future of Up ‘Til Dawn events, Hakenewerth said she believes the event will just get better and better.

“Each year we’re looking to add something different to help get the students involved with St. Jude,” Hakenewerth said. “Based on the response that we’ve received from the entire community, I think that next year we will have an event very similar with new ideas.”

In the meantime, Up ‘Til Dawn will continue to receive registrations from students in the Student Union until 11 p.m. Friday when the event begins.

“We’ve been blown away by the excitement from everyone and we’re excited to see how the pack can really give back,” Hakenewerth said.

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