Up All Night

Bradley students play games during the Up Til Dawn fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. (Photo provided)

Matt Hawkins
March 7, 2016

Renaissance Coliseum and the Markin Center buzzed with activity as Bradley students sacrificed a few hours of sleep to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The annual Up Til Dawn all-night charity event raised $45,000 for the Memphis, Tennessee hospital.

Up Til Dawn brought together 17 teams of six students each for a night of fun competitions and sobering stories from a local St. Jude patient and his family. More than 100 students participated in the event.

“As I worked with Up Til Dawn in college, I realized how great an organization St. Jude is,” said event executive director Rachel Ferguson ‘16, a health science and Spanish double major from Elgin, Illinois. “By the end of the night, we were filled with pure pride for what we accomplished as a group.”

Organizers also promoted the Jim and Trudy Maloof St. Jude Midwest Affiliate Clinic at Children’s Hospital of Illinois. The OSF Saint Francis Medical Center floor is one of seven St. Jude affiliates in the U.S.

“This gave us a sense of connection that we’re doing something bigger than ourselves and Bradley,” said Up Til Dawn Co-Director Kaitlin Herkert ‘16, a mechanical engineering major from Quincy, Illinois. “I always knew giving back was important, but this made it more significant to me.”

For the first time in Up Til Dawn’s three years, students hosted fundraiser events on campus. Bake sales and a date auction were among the first semester’s highlighted events. Several more events are scheduled for the spring as students push toward a $50,000 goal for the year.

“It’s fun to hear people talking about Up Til Dawn around campus now,” Herkert said. It makes me proud that the whole campus can participate in it and maybe become a tradition for Bradley.”

Ferguson and Herkert also recognized their leadership development through their Up Til Dawn work. Both have nurtured the organization since its inception.

“I gained confidence in my skills, and now I can see what I can do if I put my mind to it,” Ferguson said. “It’s great to be part of something bigger than yourself and watch it grow over time.”