My first time at Up ‘Til Dawn

Samantha Higgins

I’m one of those people that signs up for everything at the Club Fair at the beginning of the year. I always have the good intention of following through with a lot of them, but life happens and I usually drop a few.

sammi higgins bw

Unfortunately for me, I dropped Up ‘Til Dawn. I say unfortunately because after going to the Finale Event to report on it this past weekend, I wish I had been a bigger part of it. I wish I had played a role in making that happen. The heart and energy that goes into the event, from start to finish, all year round, is unbelievable. I talked to so many students and a majority of them were first time participants, but all of them were excited to be there and were there for the best reasons. The feeling of being a part of something bigger than yourself is amazing and Up ‘Til Dawn makes such an impact on St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; it was abundantly apparent throughout the night.

I have to admit, I was not thrilled with the idea of staying up all night. I have a chronic illness and I am very strict about my routine and staying on schedule so my body knows what is happening. I used to work overnights in high school and I just dreaded the idea of doing it again, but it was nothing like that. The events, the entertainment, the food and music—the whole night was bursting with energy. It was fun and exciting to be a part of.

Over the summer, I participated in the President’s Public Service Fellowship and had to read the Summer Reading book for the incoming freshmen. A quote from the book read, “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.” I feel as though all 520 participants have succeeded if this quote is believed to be true.

The impact that the 87,130 dollars raised by UNH will have on lives at St. Jude will be amazing. Although I wasn’t a part of raising the money, to be there and see students’ joy and fun while competing in challenges was a great experience for myself.

Up ‘Til Dawn isn’t just one event. It is a series of events to raise money throughout the year, and is comprised of individual teams raising money on their own. The Finale Event ends the year-long fundraiser as a thank you to all those involved. The Disney theme this year helped bring us all back to our childhood. The music went back to NSYNC, Backstreet Boys and High School Musical as well.

The finale event was so well planned, the people were so energized, so dedicated to what they were doing. It was truly heartwarming to be a part of it.

This event has the potential to be a signature event on our campus. This year, UNH raised so much money we surpassed LSU as the third top fundraising university in the country. With only a fraction of our student body participating and having those results, I can only imagine what we can accomplish if we can get everyone as pumped for this event every year as they are for Homecoming or Spring Weekend.

Word of mouth is the main way that UNH went from just under 200 participants last year to over 500 this year. I had no idea what it was until now; I knew of Up ‘Til Dawn and I knew they raised money, but I never truly knew the impact. I never understood the difference that all that money could make or the effort that went into each fundraising idea. Everyone participates for their own personal reasons, but I know that I will definitely be getting more involved next year, and help share information by word of mouth to help recruit even more volunteers.

All I can say to summarize is that, at 6 a.m. on March 1. when they announced the total that UNH had raised so far for St. Jude was truly a great time to be a Charger. Everyone should be so proud. I know I am.