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Belmont Up ’til Dawn wins National Program of the Year

Still reeling with excitement after winning the National Program of the Year Award this summer, Up ‘til Dawn members are looking forward to another successful year.

Up ‘til Dawn is a nationwide program run by students on college campuses to raise awareness and funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. At Belmont, students fundraise all year and hold their big Up ‘til Dawn event in February.

This July, Belmont’s Up ‘til Dawn won the National Program of the Year Award at Up ‘til Dawn’s Collegiate Leadership Seminar. Four Up ‘til Dawn members attended the three-day seminar, and though Belmont’s program has won individual awards in the past, this year was especially memorable because it was the first time the university won Program of the Year.

“It was really cool to win that because it encompasses all parts of the program.  From recruiting strategies, to side events, to the actual event and the total that we raised. It takes into account all of that,” said Natalie Halloran, Belmont Up ‘til Dawn’s executive director.

Mare Rote, a Belmont alumma and development representative at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is working with Belmont as a liaison for this year’s Up ‘til Dawn event. She appreciates the way students put their own interests aside to serve with Up ‘til Dawn each year, she said.

“It can be hard to put a lot of your time into a philanthropic organization when college is supposed to be the most selfish time of your life. People tell you all the time that this is the time to do exactly what you want and find out who you are,” Rote said. “It’s pretty rare for someone to find out who they are through a philanthropic organization.”

Coming off of the recent award, the Up ‘til Dawn board is trying to think outside of the box, test out new recruitment strategies and get more areas of campus involved, Halloran said.

“We’re trying to think of ways to not just keep it steady, but to make it better,” she said. “It’s a great community to be a part of, a great way to make friends and be a part of something very meaningful.”

Sonia Matthews, Belmont Up ‘til Dawn’s director of operations, is working to make St. Jude a major part of the culture at Belmont, since she believes St. Jude’s work aligns with Belmont’s Christian beliefs, she said.

And Belmont may not be too far from reaching that goal. Even though the university is much smaller than many other Up ‘til Dawn participants, it still was one of the top fundraising schools last year, Halloran said.

“The fact that we can do that as such a small school shows how passionate everyone on campus is,” Halloran said.

“Our impact is much bigger than we think.”

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This article written by Nicole Brown. Contributing reporting from Katie McAdams, Elizabeth Kuehne and Bailey O’Neil.

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