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Up 'til Dawn inspires

Texas Tech Up 'til Dawn fundraisers Mark Khan and Evan O'Leary

Texas Tech Up 'til Dawn fundraisers Mark Khan (left) and Evan O'Leary on their visit to St. Jude.

Texas Tech becomes a top college fundraiser for St. Jude after roommates build momentum.

Thanks to a pair of highly motivated roommates, Texas Tech University has become a top fundraiser in the St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn program.

Roommates Mark Khan and Evan O’Leary and Texas Tech's new St. Jude Up 'til Dawn executive board encouraged more than 800 students to join the program and raised an incredible $111,251 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the fall of 2015.

Khan and O’Leary attribute much of Texas Tech’s success to the executive board contacting influential individuals throughout the Greek community and other student groups on campus. This led to multiple student organizations with no prior affiliation to St. Jude raising more than $10,000 each.

St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn is a student-run campaign that plans fundraising activities for St. Jude and organizes an overnight celebration at the end of the fundraising campaign.

Khan, who was executive director of Texas Tech’s program in 2014, helped grow the program to 100 participants and raised $30,500 that year.

“It’s inspiring to me that based on the work you do, and the actions and passion you put into something, you can really instill that in others,” Khan said. “It’s all about showing you care about something to get people involved.”

His efforts led to “one of the greatest moments” in his life: being selected to the National Vision Committee, a student group that helps oversee St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn nationally. Khan, who remained heavily involved with Texas Tech’s efforts, then recruited his roommate, O’Leary, to lead the program in 2015. Both will remain involved in the program through their graduation next year.

“It’s such a wonderful organization to be a part of,” O’Leary said. “There is no downside to it. It’s contagious, addictive, and I loved every minute I was involved with it.”

Khan visited St. Jude during the Collegiate Leadership Seminar in 2014, and was back again in 2015 with O’Leary.

“After I left that seminar I realized St. Jude is my organization,” Khan said. “And I really want to make a difference.”

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