MONROE, La. — Members of the University of Louisiana Monroe’s St. Jude Fundraising organization Up ‘til Dawn (UTD) traveled to Memphis to visit the hospital and attend the Collegiate Leadership Seminar (CLS).
Executive Director Nirali Patel and Adviser Laura Jennings represented the group and were trained in how to better raise money and awareness for the hospital while at the three-day seminar.
Jennings, director of Student Life and Leadership, said that the event lets attendees see the difference Up ‘til Dawn is making firsthand.
“It opens up our hearts even more and gets us fired up to set a higher goal and do as much as we can for the kids,” Jennings said.
While at CLS, Jennings and Patel got the chance to listen to and meet executives from the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC), the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude. Attendees also heard from St. Jude patients and toured the hospital.
Patel, a senior secondary education major, said that hearing from patients and seeing the hospital puts her work with St. Jude into perspective.
“To see kids battling cancer and telling us that they won’t be wasting their second chance—that is why I do what I do,” Patel said.
The two attended several workshops focused on outreach, fundraising and education of the hospital itself as part of their training.
Patel said, “I am extremely motivated to bring all the stories and advice I heard this weekend to campus. My hope is to make this one of the most successful fundraising years at ULM!”
CLS follows the group’s participation in the Up ‘til Dawn Executive Board Fundraising Challenge. After raising over $10 thousand since March, they sit at third place in the nation.
ULM UTD board members for the 2014-2015 school year are Nirali Patel of Monroe; Shelbi Penny of Walker; Silvienne Sint Jago of Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean Islands; Brianna Barron of Leonville; Courneisha James of St. Martinville; Olivia Barfield of Dry Prong; Eryn Robertson of Shreveport; Devin Melancon of Breaux Bridge; Gabbie Labat of Gonzales; Sera Andras of Houma; Katelyn Trahan of Denham Springs; Ariana Claire Waggoner of West Monroe; and Cristina Benavides of Brownsville, Tex.
For more information, or to help ULM Up ‘Til Dawn reach this year’s goal of $45 thousand, visit ULM Up 'til Dawn.