Students from across the Cal Poly campus gathered for Up ‘til Dawn on Tuesday — a letter-writing event aimed at helping raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. The university student organization Up ’til Dawn put on the event.
Up ‘til Dawn took place in Chumash Auditorium from 6 to 11 p.m. Doors opened promptly to students and groups from fraternities, sororities and clubs looking to raise money for the hospital.
Guests were provided with envelopes, stamps and pre-written donation letters to send to whomever they chose to ask to donate to St. Jude’s.
“Up ‘til Dawn is a collegiate program that St. Jude’s does to reach out more to a demographic that has been untapped as of now,” said St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital event marketing specialist Meghan Bunchman. “Students come together and unite for one night to write letters that ask friends, family members — even their hairdressers — or whomever it may be to donate in small increments to the hospital.”
Bunchman also said St. Jude’s is the leading pediatric hospital for cancer research as well as other catastrophic diseases such as sickle cell anemia or HIV/AIDS. She said it not only treats patients from Memphis, Tenn., where the hospital is based, but from around the world. This event helps students unite and write for a cause that can hopefully make a huge difference in lots of lives, Bunchman said.
With the promise of a free T-shirt given to the first 400 guests who arrived, the line for the registry table quickly grew as soon as the event started.
“It’s pretty packed, and it’s only 6:15, so I’m pretty excited to see how much money we raise,” Up ‘til Dawn volunteer and recreation, parks and tourism administration sophomore Jennifer Keddy said at the event.
The ‘80s-themed event had many dressing up appropriately for the occasion in clothing items such as headbands and tights.
Students were given pizza, drinks, raffle prizes and live music from DJs to enjoy while they sat at tables set up with St. Jude’s informational brochures and filled out their letters.
Up ‘til Dawn volunteer and recreation, parks and tourism administration junior McGuire Gillan said eight weeks of planning went toward Up ‘til Dawn.
“Working with St. Jude’s has been great, and we have a couple of St. Jude’s representatives actually here helping us out with the event,” Gillan said.
This is Cal Poly’s first year doing Up ‘til Dawn, and the success of the event depends on the amount of donations students can bring in from the letters they send out.
“We are expecting at minimum to raise $10,000 and at most around $50,000,” Gillan said. “Other schools, such as Chico State, have raised around $150,000 from this event so if we could we would love to raise that much money in the future. The first year is always kind of a trial period however we do have a goal of $25,000 and are hoping to hit it this year, but we are optimistic. If not this year, next year.”
Editor’s note: This article originally said ASI put on the event. It was actually the university student organization Up ’til Dawn. The article also said the first 200 attendees received T-shirts — the real number was 400. The errors have been fixed above. We apologize for any confusion.