Univ. ranks third in national fundraiser

Angela Moret

The money keeps rolling in for the Up ’Til Dawn program.

Fundraising efforts have paid off, as the University ranks third out of the 99 schools nationwide participating in the fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital located in Memphis.

The University has raised approximately $79,500, which is close behind Kansas State University and Louisiana State University, which have student populations of 16,000 and 30,000, respectively.

Approximately 125 student teams with four to six members each have taken part in a variety of fundraising activities ranging from selling Pat’s cheesesteaks to collecting money along Lancaster Avenue.

The most successful fundraiser, however, has been the letter writing parties the Up ’Til Dawn executive board has sponsored. Students at the parties sent letters to everyone in their address books, asking for donations to St. Jude’s. The 5,200 letters sent provided a 38 percent return rate.

Students are able to undertake their own fundraising as long as it is approved by the executive board.

Additional fundraising, including a Valentine’s Day themed fundraiser, will continue until the March 10.

Fundraising began Nov. 1, 2002 and will continue until March 10.

Up ’Til Dawn for this school year will conclude with the Up ’Til Dawn Finale, celebrating strong fundraising efforts by the students.

The carnival-like event is planned for March 15 from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the Jake Nevin Field House and Butler Annex. The finale will include ceremonies, a mass and a surprise theme. Students will stay “up ’til dawn” in honor of all the parents of St. Jude’s patients who have stayed awake through the night providing comfort to their children.

Phil O’Neill, assistant director of Student Development and advisor for Up ’Til Dawn said, “Student support has been beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.”

He explained that while he knew the program would be successful, Up ’Til Dawn has been “much more successful than expected.”

Each participant was given the goal of raising $100. Everyone reaching their goal will be eligible to participate in the celebration. Though no goal was set for the University as whole, O’Neill believes that “if a goal was set, it would have been far exceeded.”

Besides fundraising for St. Jude’s, the 16-member Up ’Til Dawn Executive Board has worked on patient relations and raising community awareness. Two patient speakers were brought to the University, and an awareness week about childhood illness was established.

Jennifer Bedwick, an associate director of Up ’Til Dawn and the fundraising advisor for this area, believes the University’s giant success is due to “the advisors, the exec board, and the very philanthropically minded student body.”

She continued, “St. Jude’s is lucky to have Villanova working for them and hopes this will be the first of many annual Up ’Til Dawn fundraising campaigns.”