On a day steeped in political anticipation, more than 200 Fort Hays State University students filled the Memorial Union for six hours to donate their time to the children at St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
Tuesday night, the Union was the center of Up ‘til Dawn’s annual Letter Writing Campaign where students in teams of five wrote letters to 60 contacts asking for donations on behalf of the children’s hospital. There were 40 to 45 teams this year, a small growth from last year’s numbers.
This event has a tradition of a large turnout yielding $42,000 in charitable contributions last year and earning senior Megan Colson Executive Director of the Year honors from St. Jude.
“Once again, we had an awesome night. The support of our campus is amazing. It really puts us on St. Jude’s map as a standout,” Colson said.
The night began with writing letters, but activities were set up to celebrate afterward. A giant inflatable obstacle course was set up in the ballroom, as well as a photo booth and a game room with board games and a water pong table.
“I participated in this event because I love kids and hope to become a pediatric nurse and all of the proceeds go to a great cause,” sophomore Riley Mayden said.
With almost 9,000 letters written in support, Colson attributes the continued success to the support throughout campus.
Chartwells sponsored the event and provided food and refreshments. Prizes including a television, a Nintendo DS, gift cards and other prizes were given away.
Families of patients came and spoke during the event, giving the volunteers a more tangible perspective of where the money goes.
Up ‘til Dawn hosts events throughout the year to raise money for St. Jude, but Colson calls this event their “meat and potatoes of fundraising.”
“This is just a really great cause. I love kids, my mom is a kindergarten teacher and I know this will really benefit the children,” sophomore Amber Frazier said.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has spent the last 50 years advancing cures and means of prevention for pediatric diseases through treatment and research. No child is denied treatment based on race, religion, or even the ability to pay.