SUNY Plattsburgh’s Greek life hosted the No More Cancer Rally for St. Jude Children’s Hospital to raise money for childhood cancer awareness in the ACC Ballrooms Nov. 9. Students participated in different activities after engaging in fundraising challenges to encourage people to donate.
St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital is located in Memphis. Its goal is to research cures and treatments for people who have been suffering from various diseases, such as cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, aplastic anemia and many others. The director for fraternity and sorority life on campus Allison Swick-Duttine says that once they find these cures or treatments, they share this information with other hospitals throughout the world.
Swick-Duttine works with the 25 fraternities and sororities on campus, helping set the strategic vision and future of its organizations. Swick-Duttine said the intent of this event was for Greek organizations to continue to have events and competitions throughout the academic year in order to reach its goal of raising $25,000. Plattsburgh’s Greek organizations have currently raised $15,714 toward its goal.
She describes the goal of the cancer rally having been to make everyone feel like a kid again. Students were seen playing games such as Twister and staying for performances such as one from a hypnotist, as well as activities such as face painting. Many also enjoyed eating candy while socializing.
“I hope they understand why [students are] having the fun that they’re having. That’s because there are kids who are suffering from diseases that need cures,” Swick-Duttine said. “They are spending their evening celebrating those kids but also learning how to raise money to be part of the solution.”
Various fundraising challenges were held throughout the night. These challenges encouraged students to reach out to others and persuade them to donate to St. Jude. The donations were all done online.
One challenge had students email 10 people in order to receive 10 raffle tickets. The email contained a link to the fundraising page where one could donate. This was done through Facebook and Messenger.
Furthermore, if students got a donation of $20, they received 15 raffle tickets and so on.
Melanie Feliz is a part of the Lambda Theta Alpha sorority. She explained that getting others to donate can be difficult. However, she said the fun events during the cancer rally makes it not only easier for people to get involved and participate, but it makes them want to donate.
“If you find a fun way to raise money, then it’ll be easier. I sent a text and somebody actually donated $10. I did not expect anyone to, but they did,” Feliz said.
Sorority attendees Feliz and her sorority sister, Marmol said the cancer rally might not get as much attention because of its limited advertisement. They said that this event is only really advertised to Greek life.
The majority attendees were of Greek life, though the event was open to all students. They expressed how more non-Greek life students might attend if it was advertised outside of the Greek life community. However, Swick-Duttine explains how attendance has improved over the years.
Swick-Duttine said that Greek life had previously hosted a similar event with St. Jude’s hospital called ‘Up til’ Dawn.’They held this event for 13 years until they revised their program.
For the ‘Up til’ Dawn’ event, attendees had to raise $100 just to attend the event but for the cancer rally students just have to raise $25 prior to the event, a drastic difference. Swick-Duttine says how this has been a positive change in participation and attendance among Greek life.
She also said the cancer rally is not branded by St. Jude, so they do not have to run it by St. Jude’s rules like they had to previously with the ‘Up til’ Dawn”’event. Events branded by St. Jude have to follow strict rules from them in order to run it. They do not have the freedom to pursue the event the way they would like. This rally was in their full control with how they executed this event.
“Students that go to it love the event. They say it’s the most fun they have all year,” Swick-Duttine said. “The trouble is getting students to sit down and actually make the commitment to raise $25, which is really not a ton of money. They really change the life of children and families who are dealing with catastrophic diseases like cancer.”
Swick-Duttine also emphasises the role this cancer rally has on Greek life and how it can transform and affect them in a positive way.
“I believe in their mission, that when they do what they’re supposed to do and in the correct way, they’re transformative experiences for students.”
Anyone who would like to donate can visit fundraising.stjude.org.