Misconceptions about this high profile organization, however, continue to persist. According to Elizabeth Cahill 05, Volunteer Network Up til Dawn liaison: One misconception that many students have is that they have to volunteer all the time. In fact, most of the over 30 projects currently under the umbrella of the Volunteer Network are quite flexible. Students may simply volunteer when they have free time. They are by no means required to volunteer every week.
As Volunteer Network Up til Dawn liaison, however, Cahill must maintain a more rigorous schedule, logging many hours each week. In her current position Cahill acts as a gobetween for the Volunteer Network and Up til Dawn, functioning as a leader in both programs. She has not always been involved with both Volunteer Network and Up til Dawn.
In fact, Cahill, a double major in religion and economics from Mequon, Wis., did not begin as a leader in either Up til Dawn or Volunteer Network. Rather she rose through the ranks, beginning as a participant on an Up til Dawn team during her first year at St. Olaf. I came to St. Olaf not knowing what to do. I had been involved in sports in high school. My JC told me about Up til Dawn, said Cahill.
A passion for helping children was also cited by Cahill as a primary motivation forbecoming involved with Up til Dawn. An annual project that raises money for St. Jude Childrens Hospital in Memphis, Tenn, Up til Dawn seemed a great way for Cahill to help children.
St. Jude conducts cancer research and treats children with cancer free of charge, regardless of patientfamily income.. Approximately 100 colleges across the nation, including St. Olaf, participate in Up til Dawn, helping St. Jude provide quality care to children with cancer. It costs $800,000 a day to keep the hospital running, said Cahill, who recently visited the hospital with St. Olaf Up til Dawn Director Travis Rother 04. Elizabeth found the experience of visiting the hospital incredibly motivating because she was able to see facetoface the people for whom she has worked so hard during the past few years.
Although leadership positions like Elizabeth Cahills certainly require a significant time commitment, she emphasized that participation in Up til Dawn is not time consuming. Those who wish to become involved must form a team of six, attend a Nov. 11 letterwriting event and party hearty at the final event in February. Look for Up til Dawn representatives tabling outside the cafeteria for more information. Interested students may also obtain more information duringUp til Dawn week from Oct. 27 through Oct. 31.
Cahills first year as a participant in Up til Dawn also marked the year of the programs inception at St. Olaf. Describing the acheivements of Up til Dawn that year, Cahill said, The program wasnt as successful as last year because people didnt know about it. Incidentally, with more publicity came more success. Last year, with Cahill taking on a bigger role as Up til Dawns Financial Director, the program raised $19, 000 for St. Jude Hospital. Elizabeth expects this year to be even more successful, since there are already as many teams formed now as there were total teams last year.
This growing organization has kept Cahill extremely busy this fall. Her role as Volunteer Network Up til Dawn Liaison has made her a sort of goto girl. She described her work as, floating from job to job and helping wherever I am needed. She attends weekly meetings for both Volunteer Network and Up til Dawn, keeping communication lines open between the two organizations.
Although her primary involvement with Volunteer Network is through Up til Dawn, Cahill encourages students to explore the many volunteer options offered by the Network. Many campuses across the country run organizations similar to Volunteer Network, but Cahill considers the St. Olaf version unique: I like our Volunteer Network because we have such a variety of programs. No matter what your interests are you can find something youll enjoy.