Tech trades sleep to raise money

September 30, 2014
Samantha Rachel, left, and other members of Tech's Up 'til Dawn organization discuss details of the group's next event.

Samantha Rachel, left, and other members of Tech’s Up ’til Dawn organization discuss details of the group’s next event. –Photo by Brian Blakely


Staff Reporter



The workers of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have been making advancements in the field of pediatric cancer research since opening in 1962.


Louisiana Tech’s chapter of the Up ’til Dawn Organization is devoted to raising money and getting students involved with St. Jude’s work.


Samantha Rachel, the group’s executive director, said they are solely funded by grants and donations.


“A unique thing about our group is that we don’t keep any proceeds from our events,” Rachel, a senior biology major said.


“We donate directly to St. Jude once we’ve tallied our earnings.”


Rachel has been a member of Up ’til Dawn since she was a freshman. She said the group instantly attracted her with its message.


“When I first came to Tech, I was looking for a way to get plugged in to campus,” she said.


“I knew I wanted a chance to do some good and to make a difference. I heard about Up ’til Dawn and when I went to the meeting, I was amazed at the energy and enthusiasm of the previous leaders.”


Casey Ingram, director of residential life and the group’s faculty advisor, said when she thinks about the people being helped by St. Jude, she feels a sense of pride.

“I would say that the majority of people know of someone who is affected by cancer,” Ingram said. “I believe in what St. Jude is doing because they not only help the children, but their families as well.”


Ingram said both she and Rachel had been to St. Jude and seen the fruits of their labor themselves.


“The hospital is just amazing,” she said. “They plan all these fun activities for the children with the goal of allowing them to experience all the trappings of childhood, despite being in a hospital.”

Rachel said the group will be hosting a plethora of events in the coming year.


“In addition holding our annual 5K run in the spring, we are very excited to announce that last year’s ‘Polar Plunge’ will most likely be making a return,” she said.

“For those who didn’t know, we had volunteers stand out in the pool at the Lambright Center in the middle of winter. It was extremely successful.”


Ingram said the group also holds a letter writing campaign that, while absent last year, may be making a return.


“In the past, we’ve had a letter writing campaign where students bring lists of twenty five names of friends, family, et cetera and write letters to them asking for donations,” she said.

Ingram also said the letter writing campaign was special for another reason.

“The group’s namesake comes from the campaign,” she said.


“In the past, the original members would start at around 10 p.m. and stay up until dawn writing letters. We tend to hold ours in the day to be more convenient the students, though.”


Rachel said at the end of the day, she is proud to have made a difference in the life of a child.


“It’s a great networking opportunity,” she said.

“Through the group, I’ve met new friends from colleges all across the state. It’s a wonderful cause, and there are really just no negatives to it at all. St. Jude is a total giver, and I believe everyone can benefit from supporting them.”



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