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March 2, 2004

University of Louisiana at Monroe Students Participate in "Up 'til Dawn"

Students at the University of Louisiana at Monroe participating in St Jude's "Up 'til Dawn" fundraising at ULM have already raised $20,186. "Up 'til Dawn" is a student led, student run national philanthropy that benefits St. Jude's Hospital.

To participate in the program, ULM students had to recruit a six- member team to be composed of ULM students and faculty/staff, who would pledge to raise $750 for St. Jude's through various activities. The major fundraising activity is a letter writing campaign, where participants write letters to family and friends asking for donations on behalf of their team.

This year's volunteers met a family from the Monroe community who is directly benefiting from St. Jude's. The Kitchens family: Byron, Ceres and son Gus, who is a patient at St. Jude's, spoke to the volunteers about their experience in working with the hospital. They also thanked ULM and the individual "Up 'til Dawn" teams for their support of this project.

ULM Sororities involved in "Up 'til Dawn" are Alpha Omicron Pi, Kappa Delta, Phi Mu, Zeta Phi Beta, Delta Sigma Theta, and Alpha Kappa Alpha. There are also residential life teams participating.

In preparation for this event the executive board, which is comprised of ULM students, meets once a week in the fall and spring semesters. ULM student volunteers also visited St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

"By seeing and experiencing the hospital first-hand, the executive board gains a better understanding of what goals they are working towards. Additionally, this trip helps to bond the council and encourage them to become closer and better working friends," said Kathleen Gillan, Coordinator of Greek Life at ULM and staff advisor for this project.

Last fall eight ULM students participated in the Memphis trip: Jennifer Henry the Executive Director; Shataka Figgins the Assistant Executive Director; Anita Boundrant the Fundraising Chairman; Jamie Hilburn the Recruitment Chairman; Jessica Swayze the Morale Chairman; Cassandra Cooper the Public Relations Chairman; Stacy Hayward the Catering Chairman, and the Up 'til Dawn Staff advisors, Kathleen Gillan and Eric Whitten from the Department of Student Life and Leadership.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, in Memphis, Tennessee, was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas. The hospital is an internationally recognized biomedical research center dedicated to finding cures for catastrophic childhood diseases. The hospital's work is supported through funds raised by the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC). All St. Jude patients are treated regardless of their ability to pay. ALSAC covers all costs for families who have no insurance.

The program extends throughout the year, culminating in an extravaganza that keeps college students up all night. As ALSAC's first program for young adults, Up 'til Dawn has surpassed all expectations. More than 70 campuses participated in its fourth year, raising nearly $1 million in 2002. "I hope that through this program, students will have the opportunity to be a part of the everyday miracles performed at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital,"said executive director of ULM's program, Jennifer Henry.

The teams that reach their financial goal are invited to attend the finale "Up 'til Dawn" event as a reward for their hard work and participation. The finale event is a night/morning full of food, fun and entertainment. "Up 'til Dawn" has no budget and everything is donated including food, entertainment, prizes, etc. This years "Up 'til Dawn" event is tentatively set for Apr. 2, from 8 p.m. ­ 6 p.m. in the University Conference Center on the 7th floor of the ULM Library.

For more information on ULM's "Up 'til Dawn" project or to make a financial donation, contact the Office of Student Life and Leadership at 318-342-5291.

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