Eastern New Mexico University students plan to be up all night writing, with no homework involved.
The college’s student government and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital out of Memphis, Tenn. have teamed up for a fundraising event called “Up ‘Til Dawn,” to be held at the Campus Union Building.
From 8 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday, students, ENMU faculty and citizens will be working towards raising money for St. Jude, a non-profit hospital devoted to keeping the parents of children with cancer and diseases from having to pay for treatment.
Emily Blanding, who works with the Dallas branch of St. Jude’s fundraising organization, said hospital operating costs are approximately $1.5 million per day.
“We try to keep that number in mind every day as we try to raise money for the children of St. Jude,” Blanding said.
The goal of St. Jude is to pay for what is left of a family’s bill after insurance has been paid in order to give parents financial peace of mind as they help their children battle illness.
Blanding said her connection with ENMU is what made her approach Student Body President Brittany Chrisman with the idea for a fundraising event. Carol Fletcher, an employee of ENMU, worked with St. Jude after her son, Lance Fletcher, was diagnosed with cancer. He is now in remission.
Fletcher and her son will both be attending the event and have donated a $500 scholarship to be placed into a student drawing. A student receives an entry for every 50 letters written seeking donations.
Attendants are required to bring at least 10 mailing addresses to give to the event’s letter writers. According to Brittany Chrisman, the student body vice president and executive director of the event, the goal for the night is to write 4,000 letterse. The hospital provides the stationery.
Food and prizes were donated by multiple local businesses and individuals.
“It’s really exciting how quickly we were able to get things together,” said Christina Tenorio, an ENMU senior working the event.
Chrisman was approached with the idea in August and Student Government has been planning and preparing since. A table for sign ups for letter writing, activities and contests has been set up in the Campus Union Building every day since homecoming.
According to junior Josh Kelly, who is also working the event, 42 letter writing teams have signed up so far.
The event is happening in conjunction with the school’s fall carnival, which includes various games and competitions, including a talent show. the carnival runs from 7-10 p.m.