The Orion

’Cats scribe for charity

Nathan Lehmann

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Photograph by Riley Mundia Student volunteers gathered in Acker Gym Monday to write letters asking for support for the non-profit St. Jude’s Hospital.

Photograph by Riley Mundia
Student volunteers gathered in Acker Gym
Monday to write letters asking for support for the non-profit St. Jude’s Hospital.

Acker Gym buzzed with activity from 4 p.m. to midnight for the 13th annual Up ’til Dawn Fundraiser.

Up ’til Dawn is a collegiate fundraising program for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, said Ian Gilbert, associate director for Up ’til Dawn. The hospital specializes in rare diseases and cancer treatment in young people.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is entirely non-profit, he said. It’s funded exclusively by donations and charity. The national Up ’til Dawn event aims to provide the hospital and research center with money from students their family members.

About 100 colleges participate in the event nationwide in a letter-writing party, Gilbert said. Attendants come with a list of addresses belonging to people who may be willing to donate to the hospital. They are given prewritten letters requesting donations and envelopes that they address to their friends and family. They then submit the letters to the Up ’til Dawn staff, who send the letters to the appropriate addresses.

Chico State has raised the most money out of all the schools that participate in the event in the last several years, Gilbert said.

“Five out of the last seven years we’ve been the top Up ’til Dawn program in the country,” he said.

It’s been easy for Chico State to recruit interested volunteers because Up ’til Dawn is a noble cause, Gilbert said.

“At the same time we want this to be the most inclusive event as possible, we want the community to come out,” he said. “In the past we’ve averaged about 2,500 students attending, but we have also been trying to reach out to the rest of the community as well to entice some community members to spend time with us.”

In addition to serving the young people affected by rare illnesses, Up ’til Dawn also provides Chico community members with a place to come together.

“I call it our homecoming,” Gilbert said. “It’s a great way to get a large quantity of students in here, usually we average about 30 percent of the student population. It’s one of those things that brings the campus together. It can also remind the Chico community that the college does a lot of great things, it’s one of the best things we do.”

Chico State students and community members each gathered in Acker Gym for their own reasons.

“This is something that hits home with me,” said Up ’til Dawn volunteer Patricia Denyer, a former Chico State student. “It’s great to see all the students coming together for a common cause and to see these children get treated.”

Jenny Juan, a sophomore sustainable manufacturing major, has been affected by cancer, she said.

“I lost a lot of people to cancer, I wanted to give back to the people that suffer,” she said.


Nathan Lehmann can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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The student news site of California State University, Chico
’Cats scribe for charity