BY Armando Mayo
Students from all across UT’s campus and the nation are raising money for children of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital on Dec. 2. for Up ‘til Dawn (UTD). Up ‘til Dawn is a nationwide event where students stay up until dawn to raise awareness and money for the children of St. Jude’s. Beginning at 10 p.m. games, activities and challenge moments will begin in an attempt to keep everyone awake.
“[The activities] are all in an effort to raise awareness for and bring light to the struggles that St. Jude’s research hospital faces on a daily basis,” said Rahal Wijewardene, junior philosophy major and executive director of St. Jude’s Up ‘til Dawn. The idea of staying up all night started with St. Jude’s founder Danny Thomas. “No child should die in the dawn of light,” Thomas has said.
Money for the event is raised through teams that can sign up at any time throughout the semester. Students fundraise for the event in teams of six at fundraising.stjude.org/ut. After raising $100.00 per participant, students get access to the event and a University of Tampa Up ‘til Dawn t-shirt. Registration is open up to the start of the event at 10 p.m. on December 3. Teams raise money by reaching out on social media, calling and texting friends and family, and tabling in Vaughn Lobby to help raise the money needed and awareness for the event.
“To prepare for Up ‘Til Dawn, we as well as an Executive Board help each other out. From recruitment aspects to fundraising to logistics we are all a team,” saod Up ‘til Dawn student coordinator Alexis Novale. Multiple fundraisers are held throughout the year and local companies are even asked to sponsor or cater the event in order to promote full community involvement.
Promoting UTD is a big aspect of the process, Novaless said that their team uses social media to promote the event and keep those who’ve signed up update. On Facebook and Instagram, their handle is @uptildawnut. With promoting the event comes shining a light on the great things that St. Jude’s Cancer Research Hospital does.
“No Family has to pay a single dollar for lodging, food, or treatment,” Novales said. “This is unlike any other cancer research hospital in the world.” Each year a fundraising goal is set. In 2016, the goal was surpassed, said Wijerwardene.
“Last year we made $25,000, we hope to exceed that to raise as much money as possible for St. Jude,” Wijerwardene said. This year the goal is $32,500. “St Jude inspires every member of our EBoard,” Novales said. “And we hope to raise awareness for this amazing cause at UT.”
Armando Mayo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org