Students participate in St. Jude Up ‘Til Dawn

The St. Jude Up ‘Til Dawn organization at St. Ambrose University is currently working on filling positions on the executive board for the 2011-2012 academic year. Applications were due on April 15,  and interviews are taking place in the coming weeks.

A St. Jude representative and an advisor who will be a faculty member will be reviewing and making interviews with the potential candidates.

Meghan Schoen, currently the executive director of Up ‘Til Dawn, said that although she does not know what the St. Jude representative and the advisor are looking for, she has an idea of what qualities will make an applicant stand out.

“A good people-person who is willing to help raise money and who is willing to do work,” she said.

Schoen grew up in Peoria and because of a St. Jude affiliate in the city, everyone in Peoria is passionate for the cause. She said that she heard of Up ‘Til Dawn at St. Ambrose and has worked her way up through the years.

“I’ve been taught to help others,” she said.

Along with the new executive board, Schoen is ready for a new successful academic year. This year the organization was able to raise $13,000.

The final Up ‘Til Dawn event that took place last November helped with donations, but there was also another popular item that made the fundraiser successful. The group sold sunglasses at football games and in the cafeteria.

“They were a big hit,” Schoen said.

She finds this as motivation for next year because they increased last year’s earnings. Last year they were able to earn $9,000. Although this year was a great success, Up ‘Til Dawn has raised $40,000 in the past.

“It’s about figuring out what made that year so successful,” she said.

She said that even if they have struggled with the building process, they will keep on improving.

“There is always room to grow,” she said.

In an attempt to get more donations, they want to start to get people involved to raise more awareness.

They want everyone to respond by attending the final event they have every academic year. During the event, St. Jude sends Up ‘Til Dawn letters with the story of a patient. These letters are then distributed among all those who attended, and they write a letter to someone they know asking them to donate to St. Jude. Schoen realizes that perhaps many people do not attend the final event because they are intimidated. It is often confused that the letter process is long and difficult.

“We are trying to get more people aware that it is more simple, all you have to do is sign the letter and write an address,” she said.

Everyone is also given food, entertainment, and may participate in games. Schoen said that they want to have a patient come in to a future event. They have had local cancer patients attend and it leaves a bigger impact. It is more powerful in the letters because then you have seen a patient face to face.

She also said that if someone wanted to donate at the event they are more than welcome to. The money raised is sent to Memphis, where it is used on research.

Schoen said that if someone wants to help Up ‘Til Dawn, they do not need to be a member of the executive board. She said no one would be rejected because they need as much help as possible.

To learn more about ways to participate in Up ‘Til Dawn, contact Schoen at


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