St. Jude Children's Hospital by staying "Up 'Til Dawn"
JULIE THOMPSON - STAFF WRITER
Extravaganza. According to the ever-helpful Webster's, the
word means "something extravagant." However, for many of us, it seems
to fairly ooze symbolic meaning: when we think of an extravaganza, we
think, "feast for the senses."
We normally don't associate frozen wastelands, a.k.a. Brunswick
in February, with anything close to a multi-sensory smorgasbord of delights.
This Saturday night will change that stereotype for good.
In case you haven't been paying attention, or looking up
from time to time when you're in the Union, this Saturday night in Morrell
Lounge will be the extravaganza of the year: the Up 'Til Dawn all-campus
party to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
The event, which will run from 9:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., is
the culmination of a year-long fundraising effort by a group of students
dedicated to raising awareness-and money-for St. Jude.
The idea behind St. Jude is simple, yet rarely put into practice:
help those in need without asking for anything in return. Located in Memphis,
Tennessee, St. Jude functions as both a research and treatment hospital
entirely focused on childhood illnesses. What makes this hospital unique
is the fact that not a single patient must pay for the treatment that
he or she receives at St. Jude.
As an entirely pro bono organization, St. Jude provides free
medical services to its patients and their families. The hospital even
goes as far as to provide for travel expenses and housing if a family
cannot afford to make the trek to Memphis.
As a research facility, St. Jude draws from some of the most
prominent minds in several fields of medicine. Their staff boasts a 1996
Nobel laureate in medicine, Peter C. Doherty, now head of immunology at
St. Jude. The research and method protocols developed at St. Jude are
freely shared with hospitals around the country and world, and children
from literally anywhere are eligible to receive treatment.
In talking to Cabul Mehta '03, executive director of Up 'Til
Dawn at Bowdoin, it became clear that this is no ordinary fundraising
effort. It is an endeavor of monumental proportions. Mehta was first introduced
to UTD and St. Jude in the spring of last year, when a campus-wide email
went out calling for a group of students to lead the event's organization
Although his original intention was not to head up the project,
Mehta decided to accept the position and attended a conference in June
for executive directors. He began assembling his team (coincidentally,
all sophomores) as soon as school started in September, and was immediately
impressed by their enthusiasm and desire to work with the community.
The group was highly conscious of the scale of such an undertaking,
as well as its implications for fundraising at the school in general.
Bowdoin is the first college in all of New England to participate in UTD,
and schools such as Dartmouth and Holy Cross are using this year's event
as a model for their own plans.
According to Mehta, the Up 'Til Dawn party itself took off
as a fundraiser in the south, where students would be sponsored for staying
up all night. The idea behind the event is one of empathy: through the
event, students show their support for the parents of sick children who
really must stay up all night at the hospital.
Saturday's party will be the culmination of the team's year-long
efforts. Last semester was highlighted by a tasty bake sale, a holiday
card-making table at Sunsplash, and the infamous Penny Wars, which heated
things up considerably among the social houses. Tomorrow night's schedule
of events will be as follows:
9:00 p.m.-Bachelor/Bachelorette auction
10:00 p.m.-Performance by Soulive and DJ Logic
1:00 a.m.-Improvabilities Later on-Allen Gingrich '03 spins
Throughout the evening, there will be plenty of opportunities to help
A raffle will be held for a round trip plane ticket to anywhere
in the U.S., and T-shirts will be on sale all night. Donations will be
gratefully accepted, but Mehta stresses that the event is "completely
free of charge."
While members of the Executive Board have done the large
majority of the work themselves, they have also received help from several
campus organizations. The Campus Activities Board provided assistance
by bringing Soulive and DJ Logic to Bowdoin for the event, and Dining
Services has been an enormous boon to the group. "Jon Wiley of dining
services has done so much for us; I just can't thank him enough," says
He has also been very impressed with the group's commitment
to the venture: "The board has been amazing. They have really taken this
project above and beyond what I ever imagined it would be." Board members
too have been excited to see the effect of the event on the campus. Alison
Banks '03, internal assistant director of Up 'Til Dawn, says, "It's made
me realize that raising $1,000 isn't that hard. It's great that a campus
this size can raise so much money for such an incredible cause."
For more information go to www.bowdoin.edu/studorgs/uptildawn