Staying Up ’til Dawn to find a cure

by Peter KaspariStaff Writer

Simpson College is known for various achievements and services, but one service activity that may not be as well-known as others on campus is Up ’til Dawn.

“It is a campus-wide philanthropy event that raises money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital,” senior Allison Mohlke said. “It’s [also] a student-run organization under the direction of the executive board.”

Mohlke, who is a member of the executive board, said that this is the second year Simpson has sponsored the event.

“We raised $38,000 with about 50 teams and six participants per team,” she said.

According to senior Angie Smith, another member of the executive board, the idea to begin Up ’til Dawn came from the Delta Delta Delta sorority.

“Our philanthropy is St. Jude’s,” she said. “[We] thought it would be neat to get the campus involved.”

Senior Courtney Swanson said representatives from the hospital visited the sorority.

“St. Jude representatives came and explained [Up ’til Dawn],” she said. “We decided to make it a campus-wide event instead of just Greek.”

Sophomore Sarah Harl agreed that making it a campus-wide event was the best way to go.

“They thought it was something college kids could get excited about and fit it into their schedules,” Harl said.

To get the word out about Up ’til Dawn, the executive board has been going around to LAS classes and clubs. Last Friday, event coordinators set up a table outside Dunn Library, in an event known as “On the Lawn with Up ’til Dawn.” According to Swanson, so far, the publicity appears to be working.

“We’ve had a lot of people excited about it,” Swanson said. “[But] we need people to turn their forms in so we can get started.”

One goal this year is to have the same success as last year.

“I think it would be amazing if we could get 45-50 teams this year,” Harl said.

To raise money, students have to first form teams of six people. Those six people then bring in 50 addresses to a letter-writing party, where they simply need to write the names on pre-written letters. After all the money is received, a celebration will be held in the spring.

“The letter-writing party is Tuesday, Oct. 30, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Hopper Gym,” Mohlke said. “You don’t have to come for the whole time.”

Simpson isn’t the only college that holds Up ’til Dawn. Other collegiate participants include Coe, St. Ambrose, the University of Northern Iowa and Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.

The members of the executive board say the time commitment for the event is small and the results are very large.

“College students have a lot on their plates, and it doesn’t take a lot of time,” Smith said. “I think it’s a great program and it’s a great cause.”

Mohlke agrees that the simplicity of the event makes it easy to take part in.

“It’s such an easy event to participate in,” Mohlke said. “We try and make it simple to join and we hope lots of people will join. It goes towards a great cause.”

For Harl, who lost a cousin to cancer, the event has a personal feel.

“It takes hardly any of your time, and I’ve seen the difference it makes in the lives of families affected by cancer,” Harl said.

St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, based in Memphis, Tenn., was founded in 1962, thanks in part to entertainer Danny Thomas. According to a statement on their Web site, “all patients accepted for treatment at St. Jude are treated without regard to the family’s ability to pay.” Because of this, the hospital relies on donations to help treat its patients.

“I think it’s such a good organization because it helps the organization directly,” Swanson said. “All the money raised goes directly to the hospital. We [the executive board] don’t see any of it.”

For students who still want to get involved, it’s not too late.

“There’s a team registration form sent out through campus mail,” Mohlke said. “You just print it out and send it, or you can find a member of the executive board. And you can email at [email protected] if you have questions or want to sign up.”