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Students Help Fight Childhood Cancer

(Sept. 11, 2009) - The words of a father whose child is a patient at St. Jude's Hospital struck a chord with SUNY Plattsburgh seniors Sarah Frankel and Brian Ganon.Frankel and Ganon were among some 800 other college students attending a seminar at the children's research facility in Memphis, Tenn. There, they heard the father tell the crowd that when he was in college, he wasn't thinking about making a difference in the world.

But at SUNY Plattsburgh, that's exactly what the students who run, organize and participate in St. Jude's Up 'til Dawn are hoping to do.

Frankel, vice president of the service for the Inter-Sorority Association and Ganon, vice president of service for the Interfraternity Council, serve as the executive directors for SUNY Plattsburgh's Up 'til Dawn. They head a student-run executive board and oversee countless other student volunteers.

"The success of this annual philanthropic endeavor is reliant on the leadership and initiative of the student directors and committees," says campus advisor Allison Swick-Duttine of the Center for Fraternity/Sorority Life. "Because of their vision and dedication, the event continues to get bigger every year and pull in more and more student participants. It has certainly become part of the Plattsburgh tradition."

Since 2004, when SUNY Plattsburgh's Interfraternity Council and Inter-Sorority Association introduced Up 'til Dawn to the campus, the students' late-night letter writing efforts have raised $145,000

The Up 'til Dawn executive board's passion for the cause seems to be contagious. Events are planned throughout the fall to rally support, enthusiasm, and excitement for the finale event, which will be held Nov. 14 in SUNY Plattsburgh's Angell College Center.

"It takes a lot more people than just the executive board to make Up 'til Dawn the success it always has been," says Frankel. "The fraternities, sororities and other student clubs have consistently been extremely involved in the event, and it's always our goal to get as much of the student body to participate as we can."

For more information about Up 'til Dawn, contact Allison Swick-Duttine in the Center for Fraternity/Sorority Life at 518-564-4825.

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