Students write letters to raise money for hospital

Maciena Justice

WKU is the third highest ranking contributor in the nation among colleges for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital thanks to Up ‘Til Dawn, a philanthropic program on campus.

Richmond senior Emily Borgmeier, the public relations chair for Up ‘Til Dawn, said last year WKU raised about $86,000 from its fundraising.

“I participated my freshman year,” Borgmeier said. “My entire sorority went to the finale event and it was just one of those things. I just love it. I got involved my junior year and now I’m the PR chair.”

Up ‘Til Dawn raises money specifically for St. Jude’s through their main fundraiser, the letter writing campaign.

Today and tomorrow in the Cupola Room, which can be accessed through Red Zone, students have the opportunity to send letters to their family and friends asking for donations for the hospital.

Borgmeier said the letters are preformed with students only responsible for addressing the envelopes. A student can write as many as they want, but if a student writes 25 letters they can earn one service hour if they are Greek. However any student that writes 25 letters is eligible to attend the finale event March 16, 2012.

Last week 50 students were able to go to tour St. Jude’s.

“It was an indescribable experience,” Borgmeier said. “It was life-changing to see where all our hard work goes.”

She said as they took the tour, there were many mothers who would thank them for their fundraising.

Bowling Green senior Gina Scenna has been through the tour of the hospital three times.

“It completely changes why you do what you do,” she said.

Borgmeier and Scenna said they both have gained knowledge about the hospital from the tours.

St. Jude is known for being a hospital that never turns a family away due to financial problems. They take care of housing along with medical care for the families. It costs 1.7 million dollars a day for St. Jude to operate.

Although the hospital is based in Memphis, Tenn., it helps children all over the world.

Scenna has been working with Up ‘Til Dawn since the summer of 2009. Scenna is now the executive director and the chair of the letter writing committee. She said that last week, the board did an awareness week to help add a spotlight on St. Jude.

“They say we help tremendously,” Scenna said about St. Jude’s response to WKU fundraising. “While it doesn’t seem like much, we help out.”

Cox’s Creek senior Justin Pile is on the executive board of Up ‘Til Dawn. He became involved with the organization after looking for something where he could help a good cause.

The letters students send are on behalf of the hospital and ask for donations that go 100 percent to St. Jude, Pile said.

“It goes to patients and their families,” he said. “It’s for the patients and their families’ food and housing.”

Pile said St. Jude shares all of their research with the public and other researching centers,so that everyone can benefit from their findings.

Borgmeier said Up ‘Til Dawn’s goal for this year is to earn $100,000 through the letter writing campaign and its other fundraising events.

Other campaigns include bake sales and Buffalo Wild Wings and The Buckhead Cafe night, where a portion of that evening’s sales goes to the children’s hospital.