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All for a good cause

PLATTSBURGH While many college students stress about being up until dawn or not being able to enjoy a winter break because they were cramming for tests or finishing up a paper or project, others were quite willing to give up their rest time. Up 'Til Dawn was an event sponsored by fraternities and sororities at SUNY Plattsburgh. Held on Nov. 18, the event benefitted St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Up 'Til Dawn is a student-led program hosted by colleges and universities nation-wide to support St. Jude. As James Nieke, public relations coordinator for the group explained, Many local children and doctors benefit from the research and treatment programs developed at the children's hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Up 'Til Dawn is a letter-writing campaign that occurs on a night filled with fun-filled activities, music, food, and entertainment, Nieke added. SUNY Plattsburgh fraternities and sororities, athletic teams, multi-cultural organizations, residence hall councils, student association clubs and organizations and other student groups participated in the campus third annual Up Til Dawn event. They spent many hours addressing letters to friends and family asking them to make donations to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. This years amount is still being calculated, but Nieke said last year they raised over $25,000. Fraternities and sororities also participated in their first ever Alternative Winter Break, which was PSUs only international trip this year and the second out of the country trip ever, according to Allison Swick-Duttine, director of fraternity/sorority life & leadership development. She, along with nine students and one faculty member, went to Nicaragua on a Mission of Hope trip. There, they worked for two weeks on community service projects. We helped out with residents at a disability center, Swick-Duttine said. We did activities with the children there and at meal-times we helped feed some that were not able to feed themselves, and we took them out to the playground, and so on, she added. During their mission the PSU group also helped with renovating a medical clinic, and participating in community outreach activities. The group had large bags of clothing they had brought to Nicaragua from the Plattsburgh Mission of Hope headquarters, as well as 25 lb bags of rice and beans to divide up and take to families and the orphanage. Swick-Duttine said many of the students had described the trip as a life-changing experience. My time in Nicaragua was an enriching experience that allowed me to learn about the country, it's people, and it's customs, said Stephanie Ruiz, a senior at SUNY Plattsburgh. We, as Americans, take for granted the basic necessities of life, and this trip opened my eyes to how poverty is a major issue throughout the world.

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