Freshmen Kayla Hannam, Jackie Albin and Paige Rockers address letters at the fourth annual Baker University Up ‘til Dawn event. There were 42 teams registered to participate in the event. Each student was encouraged to address 50 letters to family and friends asking for donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Artwork by Hannah Schaake.
Baker University’s Up ’til Dawn event Friday proved to be a success with the largest turnout in its four years of existence on campus.
“We had 42 teams registered to participate, and there are five students on each team. So, we had 210 students participate, which is truly amazing. I think in our last four years that people have truly just caught on and are willing to be part of making a difference,” Director of Student Life Brett Bruner said.
This year’s theme, Saved by the Cure, took students back to the ’90s, as music from that decade was played throughout the night and students were encouraged to dress in their favorite ’90s attire.
“We decided on that theme at the beginning of the year just because the generation of our age, 18 to 22, who are in college right now, were born during that time period,” Assistant Director Justin Lane said. “We kind of just wanted to bring that back and remind everyone of their childhood and all the fun they had and reincorporate that into the Up ’til Dawn event. Everyone in general came up and participated really well in a very professional matter. It was really cool to see.”
The night began with a presentation from the Kempf family, a patient’s family from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Their son, Mason, was a childhood cancer patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital before he passed away.
“They talked about how St. Jude was such a touching place for them, even when their son Mason was going through everything he went through. I looked around and saw lots of people who had watery eyes or tears,” Bruner said. “I think it shows that students can really see the effect of their work that has on people, especially with someone close from the Kansas City area. Sometimes we don’t think about St. Jude or childhood cancer affecting people around us.”
Each student was encouraged to address 50 letters to friends and family encouraging donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Those who wrote 50 letters and stayed the entire night were eligible to win the grand prizes at the end of the night, which were two $200 Visa gift cards.
Junior Shayna Mangiaracino was a winner of one of the gift cards, but the night meant more to her than just winning.
“I participated in Up ’til Dawn because it’s part of the philanthropy of my sorority, (Delta Delta Delta), and trying to raise money for St. Jude and the kids,” Mangiaracino said. “(The best part) was helping the kids, obviously. We had to write all those letters just to be in the drawing.”
The final events consisted of entertainment in Mabee gym. There were two inflatables and a musical performance by freshmen Brandon Haefke and Greg Bradford.
Aside from the letter-writing portion of the night, one of the most popular events was the University of Kansas versus North Carolina State University Basketball game.
“At the finale event, I think people enjoyed the KU game the most, as far as being packed in a room and enjoying that with all their friends, writing letters for two, two and a half hours,” Lane said.