Up til Dawn on the Rise at Mount Union
April 07, 2015
ALLIANCE, Ohio – Raising money, educating donors, nursing hope and cultivating cures, University of Mount Union students made record-breaking donations for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (St. Jude) through Up ‘til Dawn (UTD) this spring.
UTD, a nationwide collegiate fundraiser for St. Jude, raises funds yearlong, gathering millions in donations, which has led to an average overall survival rate of over 80% for various childhood cancers. The nationwide goal for UTD was $3.4 million, and the Mount Union community has been successful doing their share by raising more than $55,000.
During the seven years Mount Union has participated in UTD, more than $415,000 has been raised for St. Jude.
UTD is a group students can join to promote awareness, to collect funds, to educate others about the mission of St. Jude and to celebrate all the successes patients, families and researchers achieve.
“Awareness and understanding are fundamental in educating people about St. Jude because we want to foster lifelong supporters,” said Jessica Douglas, director of first year initiatives and UTD advisor.
The fundraising finale for Up ‘til Dawn, which is aptly named, is held from midnight to six a.m. to show support for the children and families who are up all night with treatments at St. Jude.
“I love that Mount Union supports this program because it is not only an amazing cause, but also because it gives students the opportunity to participate in meaningful philanthropy and to see what kind of impact they can create with their own time,” Douglas said.
Students raise funds by sending email and letters to their friends and family, by posting on social media and through various side events such as raffles or car-smashes at football games.
“The easiest method of fundraising for us is letter-sending,” said senior Ashley Rivera, executive director of UTD at Mount Union. “We hold a big event during the fall semester providing pre-made letters for the students; however, this year social media was critical. Students were able to post their fundraising page link on their Facebook and Twitter accounts which was a huge success because people could donate easily that way.”
Mount Union has been in the “Top Ten College Fundraisers” for St. Jude several times since the program’s inception at Mount Union in the fall of 2008. That same year, the group won the “Rookie of the Year Award” from St. Jude.
“My favorite aspect of UTD is getting to raise a substantial amount of money for such a great cause,” Rivera said. “St. Jude is special because no patient or family has to pay for food, shelter, transportation or treatment. They only need to focus on their child getting better. I cannot wait to work for St. Jude one day, so I can make an even bigger difference.”
There are about 200 participants each year at Mount Union with an executive board made up of 12 students and a staff advisor.
“UTD constantly lets me fall in love with St. Jude over and over again,” Rivera said.