Each year, Belmont students rally together behind St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through the annual Up ‘til Dawn event. Students raised more than $135,000 through continuous fundraising efforts throughout the school year and were eager to celebrate this achievement over the weekend, being named the top fundraising school in the United States.
In 2018, Belmont was recognized by St. Jude with Program of the Year Award. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a pediatric treatment and research facility in Memphis, Tennessee, focused on children’s catastrophic diseases, particularly cancer.
Sonia Mathews, executive director of Belmont Up ’til Dawn, shared, “Up ‘til Dawn means compassion toward, hope for, and solidarity with the children and families of St. Jude. It is incredibly special that year after year, despite their busy lives, students choose to sacrifice their time to raise money and awareness for St. Jude. The continuous support and participation of our student body just goes to show how service oriented Belmont’s heart is. About 10 percent of our entire student population was involved this year, exemplifying that Belmont students are willing to sacrifice their time to help people in need. That is something truly beautiful and Christlike. I couldn’t be more thankful for it.”
Up ’til Dawn 2020 took place in the Curb Event Center on Friday, February 28, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. With a camping theme, students were encouraged to come decked out in flannels and camping attire.
Belmont staff adviser Meghan Westbury stated, “I am blessed to have a front row seat to this year after year. Belmont is committed to providing a community that challenges men and women to engage and transform the world. In six years on Belmont’s campus, St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn has become that community through service and leadership from a diverse and unified body of students on campus.”
To graduating senior Olivia Steiner, Belmont’s Up ‘til Dawn organization and event means the world. She shared, “Up ‘til Dawn’s meaning in my life has changed drastically since I served as a Morale Captain my freshman year. While my cousin Lizzy was fighting cancer as a St. Jude patient, Up ‘til Dawn allowed me to join the fight with her in a tangible way. Knowing that the money I raised was going to the hospital that was helping Lizzy fight for her life was empowering. After she passed in 2018, Up ‘til Dawn became an outlet for keeping her legacy alive and fight for the 1 in 5 children like Lizzy who don’t make it. This event has given me a place to use my heartbreak for good and use my time in college to make a positive impact on something that matters to me.”
Belmont Up ‘til Dawn recognized Belmont’s chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta as the top fundraising organization on campus with more than $24,000 raised for St. Jude. As a member of the sorority, Steiner said, “Being able to watch my sorority develop a passion for St. Jude has been incredible. I’m so thankful to have a group of more than 200 women who were so dedicated to this fundraising. Encouraging does not even begin to describe how this made me feel.”