Photo courtesy of Alex Ybarra Attendees of the Interfraternity Council Benefit Dinner gather for a photo in the Milt Glick Ballrooms on Tuesday, Nov. 11. A majority of the audience consisted of Greek members who came together in support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Photo courtesy of Alex Ybarra
Attendees of the Interfraternity Council Benefit Dinner gather for a photo in the Milt Glick Ballrooms on Tuesday, Nov. 11. A majority of the audience consisted of Greek members who came together in support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

By Maddison Cervantes

The motto at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is, “No child should die in the dawn of life.”

Cori Guidi, University of Nevada, Reno senior and Delta Delta Delta sorority member, has taken this motto to heart as one of the many reasons St. Jude is a dominant factor in her life. Guidi spent the past summer working as an intern in St. Jude’s American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities office, the hospital’s Los Angeles-based fundraising branch.

St. Jude’s slogan has also reached UNR’s Interfraternity Council, which found it to be an admirable organization. IFC partnered with St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn, a nationwide organization dedicated to fundraising for the hospital, to host the first IFC Benefit Dinner at the university.

On the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 11, the Milt Glick Ballrooms, located in the Joe Crowley Student Union, were filled with UNR students and community members. Tickets were $15 each, Olive Garden catered to the guests and young men from UNR’s fraternities contributed by serving the food.

A selection of videos based on the stories of several St. Jude patients were also presented to the audience. All proceeds of the dinner went directly to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

These proceeds were made possible through coordination by junior Caden Fabbi, a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and IFC executive board administrator. He managed the planning and marketing aspect of the dinner, with a goal of hosting an impactful evening.

“I really believe in the Greek system to be able to come together and do something great for the world,” Fabbi said. “We raised a ton of money and awareness, thanks to the help and contributions from the IFC fraternities, for a wonderful organization and that’s really what the event was about.”

As a member of Up ‘til Dawn, Fabbi admires St. Jude and began to see a partnership between IFC and Up ‘til Dawn. With this partnership, the benefit dinner was put in motion.

St. Jude is the official philanthropy of Tri Delta. Morgan Ogden, Tri Delta president and executive director for Up ‘til Dawn, attended the event along with Guidi and several other members of the sorority to support the organization.

Ogden, who spoke at the event, is a second-year intern for the American Cancer society and traveled to Memphis, Tennessee over the summer to work in St. Jude’s gift planning department, which deals with high wealth donors and corporations. Ogden is convinced that UNR has the potential to continue with a larger amount of donations for this cause.

“Since we have not done it before, I think Nevada has a unique opportunity because as a university, we are growing so fast, have such an amazing population and have such passion for giving back,” Ogden said.

Since 1962, St. Jude has helped increase the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent. The hospital provides patients and their families the chance to focus solely on their child’s health, regardless of their race, religion or inability to pay. These families will never receive a bill for their medical expenses, housing expenses or basic necessities. The hospital is run on approximately $2 million per day and is funded completely by donations.

Within one evening, approximately $3,500 was raised for this hospital as a result of the UNR students and community members that attended.

“What we are doing is so important because every dollar that is donated to St. Jude truly matters,” Guidi said. “The research done at the hospital is shared freely with the world and affects cancer treatments for everyone. This is something so special to St. Jude and a reason they are so successful.”

Other attendees joined Guidi in contributing to the continuation of St. Jude’s successes.

Fraternity members working the dinner were enthused about fundraising for the cause, such as sophomore and current Zeta Psi pledge Christian Doty.

Doty has recently entered IFC on campus, and has developed and appreciation for St. Jude donations.

“It’s cool to see IFC coming together and raising money for St. Jude,” Doty said. “All we are doing is selling tickets and serving food, but it’s bringing so many donations forward, and that’s something we all want to be a part of.”

The benefit dinner was a side event for the actual Up ‘til Dawn fundraiser, which will take place on March 28, 2015 in the Joe. According to Ogden, the event has been held on college campuses nationwide.

Up ‘til Dawn will be an all-night event consisting of activities, prizes and patient families there speaking. Teams are registered in groups of six, and each is asked to raise $100 to achieve the organization’s goal of raising more than $50,000.

“If Up ‘til Dawn is successful, which it will be, it will take place every spring on campus,” Ogden said. “Hopefully, in years to come, [UNR’s] Up ‘til Dawn will be as successful as the University of Memphis, TN; they raise over $100,000.”

Ogden added that St. Jude is interested in engaging college students to help inform the world on the power of their brand. She firmly believes that their research will allow them to discover a cure for cancer in her lifetime, and Ogden wants to be sure that the UNR helped them get there through events such as Up ‘til Dawn and the IFC Benefit Dinner.

Maddison Cervantes can be reached at and on Twitter @madcervantes.