Up ‘Til Dawn Raises $114,157 with Finale Event, Surpassing $100,000 Goal

Samantha Higgins

The University of New Haven Up ‘Til Dawn raised $114, 157 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,
securing a place as third in the nation for fundraising for St. Jude after their annual Finale Event on Feb. 27.

“I came in sleepy and the moment I stepped through the doors, I was wide awake,” said Julieann Schneidenbach, a member of ASA Ladybugs team. Schneidenbach is speaking about the atmosphere that all students felt when entering the Beckerman Recreation Center for Up ‘Til Dawn on Feb. 27 at 11 p.m. Students prepared to “stay up for good,” and spent their night competing for prizes until 6 a.m.

Photo obtained via Facebook/Cheyenne Nettleton
Photo obtained via Facebook/Cheyenne Nettleton

The Executive Board of Up ‘Til Dawn has been working for nine months on a superhero theme for this all-night event. The Rec Center was decorated with balloons spelling out St. Jude, superhero balloons, and activities, such as a photo booth, giant Jenga blocks, inflatable Twister, and green screen that turned your photo into a coloring sheet.

Brandyn Cesan and Craig Downey served as the Masters of Ceremony for the event, beginning with the opening ceremony, where they introduced Julianne Toce, Executive Director of Up ‘Til Dawn at UNH for the 2015- 2016 academic year.
Toce said that she is “absolutely” happy with the outcome of the event and she wants to “thank everyone who supported Up ‘Til Dawn, the participants, volunteers, advisors, and e-board for all their hard work to make it all possible.” She also said that she is “so grateful to be a part of our UNH community and to see all these people come together” for Up ‘Til Dawn.

Downey shared that “the most rewarding part is knowing that the money everybody raised is actually going to help kids, not just going into somebody’s pocket.”
Jacqueline Hinrichs, President of Fundraising, shared a video of how much Up ‘Til Dawn has grown at UNH since 2010 before Jill Grembowicz, the Regional Advisor for Up ‘Til Dawn, addressed the crowd. She talked about her first meeting as a regional advisor; it was with UNH when the then-executive board decided they were officially getting rid of the “letter writing campaign” they previously held to have the big, night-long event they now have. That first year, UNH had a goal of only $6,000. The next year, their goal increased to $20,000 and surpassed when they raised $34,000. This resulted in an increased goal of $60,000 for last year, which was once again exceeded with a total of $87,130. This year’s goal was $100,000.
UTD Ricky4
Hinrichs got involved with Up ‘Til Dawn because of knowledge from a little girl in her hometown. Her favorite part of the event is when the total is announced at the end “because every year it gets higher and show how much our tiny, private school can really do.”

Grembowicz shares with the audience stories of patients from Connecticut who have gone to St. Jude and what the money that has been raised goes to, sharing stories about patients and that St. Jude offers services to patients in all 50 states for free, including all treatment and travel. Up ‘Til Dawn offers support for St. Jude and helps because St. Jude believes that “all the parents should worry about is having their kid well.” She told everyone “you are the generation keeping the doors open at St. Jude for years and years to come.”
The night was broken down into three big challenges, plus side challenges. Teams were alerted of the events via text message. The first event was Human Scrabble: teams were brought to Bartels, where letters were placed in buckets in the Mezzanine, Alumni Lounge, Moulton Longue and Programming Space. Each team was able to send one team member to each location to bring back one letter at a time; teams got points for standard scrabble words and bonus points for words they could connect back to St. Jude.

The second challenge was Make Your Own Superhero. Teams were grouped together with other teams and given a bag of supplies, such as large underwear, t-shirts, tablecloth, string, pipe cleaners, paper and markers. Each group had to designate one person a superhero and one person the side kick and create their costumes. At the end of the challenge, there was a fashion show where the contestants provided their name and super power.
The final challenge was a dance competition where teams were grouped together to make larger groups. They were each given one minute of a song to choreograph and then perform for the rest of the students.

Between the main challenges, there was a performance by Fully Charged and side challenges such as “Test your Superman Skills,” where participants were tested to see who had the highest jump, social media bingo, and another side challenge to find the Hidden Superheroes around the Rec Center.

Before the final amount was revealed, there was the announcement of Team Spirit Awards, raffles, and other prizes. During this time, Grembowicz told the students about “how critically important each of you are to the St. Jude mission.” UNH also continued a tradition of recording a “No Mo’ Chemo Party” at this time, where the crowd sang a song designated to celebrate the end of a child’s chemotherapy treatments.
UTD Ricky3
Top Individual Fundraiser was awarded to Melissa Capalbo, who raised $6,120. Top Student Organization was ROTC, who raised $14,407, and top Greek Organization was Alpha Sigma Alpha, who raised $9,356.

Overall winners were, in third place, the Wrestling Club, in second place, ROTC Cadets for the Kids, and, in first place, Too Inspired to be Tired.

When the final amount was announced the crowd went crazy, and numerous people were emotional.

“Up ‘Til Dawn has had a huge impact,” Downey said. “When people from all over campus and from different clubs and organizations can all unite together for one goal, [it] is an amazing thing.”

Hinrichs said that “if you have never participated in Up ‘Til Dawn, you should at least once in the four years at UNH. It will completely change your outlook on a lot.” She also said that it was one of the best choices she has made during her time at UNH.

One of Toce’s favorite parts of Up ‘Til Dawn is the reveal. “After all the hard work we did on this huge event, being able to step back and really see how much money UNH raised for St. Jude was incredible.”

By raising $114, 157, the University of New Haven secured a place as third in the nation for fundraising for St. Jude.

Photos by Samantha Reposa & Erica Naugle/Charger Bulletin photos