Each year, the Student Government Association teams up with the Marist community to help end childhood cancer. The event, St. Jude’s Up ‘til Dawn, is sponsored by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The event is held from 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m., and includes a series of activities to keep participants awake and entertained throughout the night. All proceeds go towards finding a cure.
If you’ve ever been to a Marist sporting event, or any event held at Marist at all, you’ll notice a lack of students. Why is it that our small small has such a lack of student attendance and participation? I spoke with SGA Vice President and St. Jude Up ’til Dawn executive board member, Summer Bourlier, to get an insight on how this organization successfully gains the attention of students.
“For some reason there seems to be a sense of apathy among the students that is extremely difficult to combat,” says Bourlier. “In regards to an organization such as St. Jude Up ’til Dawn, it’s even more difficult because there’s a fundraising component involved. Whenever anybody hears ‘give us money’ they are immediately turned off. They fail to see how fun this event is and how much they would be helping this incredible cause.”
Being a member of a philanthropic organization myself, I’ve noticed firsthand how difficult it is to get students to attend fundraisers, regardless of how much the event will help a certain cause. I asked Bourlier how the Up ’til Dawn board successfully recruits students to participate in the fundraising events.
“We’ve found that if you want something from the students, you have to offer something to them,” Burlier says. “Incentives are super important. As much as I would love it if every student wanted to participate in this event for the kids of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, I know that there needs to be a little bit more to draw them in.”
This year, any member of a team who raises $100 by the end of day of the event will be entered to win a pair of Beats by Dr. Dre or a FitBit.
The fundraiser itself has currently raised $28,543 of their $40,000 goal. When I asked Bourlier where most of those donations came from, she told me it was family members and parents’ workplaces.
“Approaching people close to you works the best. When they see the light in your eyes when you talk about this organization, they’re going to want to help in any way they can.”
So, how many students will stay Up ’til Dawn this year? You can find out on November 14th at 11:30 p.m. in the McCann Center. If you’d like to participate, grab 5 of your friends and go to Marist Up ’til Dawn’s fundraising website and register a team. If you’d like to make a donation, click ‘Make a gift!’. Any and all donations are greatly appreciated!
“These kids live their lives out so fully and never fail to smile, says Bourlier. “knowing I’m able to help these unbelievably strong kids at St. Jude Research Hospital is what keeps me going.”