Group of students under St. Jude letter balloons

Top 10

Two Tennessee schools — the University of Memphis and Belmont University in Nashville — were among the Top 10 schools nationwide in money raised for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. University of Memphis was No. 1 on the list with $249,064; Belmont was No. 4, raising $113,230.

  • Here’s the Top 10 list:
  • University of Memphis: $249,064
  • Illinois State University: $184,914
  • University of New Haven: $128,217
  • Belmont University: $113,230
  • Texas Tech: $103,537
  • College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s: $84,626
  • Iowa State University: $81,073
  • University of St. Thomas: $74,143
  • Arkansas State University: $69,777
  • Bryant University: $61,329

On a Friday in February, about 100 people headed to the Aquatic and Recreation Center. But they didn’t go during the building’s usual hours.

They were there from midnight to 6 a.m. And they had to stay awake the whole time.

“At the end of the night, we were all exhausted, but energized at the same time,” says Alexis Hurley, a junior communications major and executive director of the organization that sponsored the event.

Up ’Til Dawn raises money for Memphis’ St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which focuses on cancer treatments. More than 60 colleges and universities across the country participated in the fundraising effort. The groups raised more than $2.3 million, says Avery Jordan, regional development representative at ALSAC, the funraising arm of St. Jude.

The night in the ARC was the culmination of almost a year of work and fundraising by the UTC group. The group, which started up again in April 2016 after years of inactivity, raised $42,312, one of the highest amounts of any first-year organization and not all that far off the nationwide Top 10.

“This effort has been truly student-led. As an administration, we brought the program to our students because of strong student interest and our institution’s commitment to promote the importance of civic engagement and philanthropy,” says Austin Arias, assistant dean of students and one of the organization’s advisors.

“The money they have fundraised will truly ensure a family never receives a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live,” he adds.

Raising money at UTC was accomplished through social media, emails, text messages, phone calls and setting up tables at various events around campus.

Staying awake during Up ’Til Dawn was not that hard, Hurley says, because of all the activities that took place over its six hours. There was a dodgeball tournament, Zumba, a silent disco, a photo booth, a duct tape/toilet paper fashion show and a red wagon relay race.

“The red wagons are unique to St. Jude because the kids often use red wagons to get from place to place in the hospital during long days of chemo and radiation,” she says.

Hurley has a personal experience with cancer — her grandfather had leukemia and his treatments took place at a hospital near the St. Jude campus in Memphis, she says.

“One of his many cancer treatments was derived directly from St. Jude,” she explains. “They share all of their cancer research with the world, so that is just one of the many things that makes the hospital so unique.

“I am a healthy 21-year-old that gets to attend college, pursue a career, and live a happy life, and I believe every child should get to look forward to and plan for the same reality,” she says.


Media Relations Contacts: Email Shawn Ryan or call (423) 425-4363.
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