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St. Jude executive board hosting Carnival Night fundraiser

Steve Shrenkle

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On Friday, Feb. 23, from 9 p.m. – 1 a.m., the St. Jude executive board of AU will be hosting its very first ever ‘Carnival Night’ fundraising event in Redwood.

All proceeds will be donated directly to the benefit of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The fundraiser is open to anyone and everyone who wants to support the cause.

Sarah Kutz, the executive director of the St. Jude executive board at AU, is looking forward to raising money for the university’s philanthropy.

“St. Jude is our school philanthropy,” Kutz said. “All throughout the year we plan events like this to help raise as much money as we possibly can.”

Kutz said that she is excited for the brand-new event to take place in place of their former fundraiser, ‘Up ‘Til Dawn.’
“This whole thing is brand-new this year,” Kutz said. “We used to do Up ‘Til Dawn in the past, but it never really worked since our campus is so small.

Kutz was not happy with the turnout last year for the fundraiser, so she decided to take matters into her own hands.

“After having only about 90 people there at the fundraiser, something needed to change,” Kutz said. “I personally went to St. Jude this past summer and changed it to a collegiate event which allowed us to plan whatever we wanted.”

Dustin Hargis, the assistant director of student life, said that the Carnival Night event will be a nice change of pace for fundraising.

“Up Till Dawn was fun but also a big time commitment, something that some students didn’t enjoy the most,” Hargis said. “Carnival Night is something that we settled on in terms of everyone enjoying the different types of carnival games. Even though we are raising money for charity, we still had to find a way to keep people engaged so I think everyone can relate to carnival games.”

The relationship that AU has with St. Jude is something that always was impressive to Hargis.

“I don’t know exactly when Ashland’s relationship with St. Jude started,” Hargis said. “When I got here and learned that we worked together as a community to help benefit St. Jude, I knew that was awesome.”

The mission of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was something that Hargis knew many people could support he said.

“When it comes to the mission of St. Jude, it’s something that I think everyone can get behind,” Hargis said. “I think that people can get behind raising money for them because of the idea of helping change families lives and being a lifesaver for so many people.”

Kutz said that the fundraiser was made possible courtesy of donations from many businesses.

“The carnival event right now consists of all donations so that’s how we are putting it on,” Kutz said. “This year we didn’t have a budget, so everything we’re doing is off donations or our own funds.”

The fundraiser will have free food from many different places that have all been donated.

“All of the food that will be there has been donated,” Kutz said. “Buffalo Wild Wings, Olive garden, Texas Roadhouse, Old Carolina and Fridays are all just some of the places that have donated food.”

Not only will the fundraiser have free food, but will contain raffles, prizes and a live DJ as well.

“We have great raffles and prizes that people can enter,” Kutz said. “We have prizes like food gift certificates, different St. Jude items, tons of different sports prizes including autographed Antonio Brown things, tickets to the Pittsburgh Zoo and many other awesome prizes that have been donated.”

The event is being put on to not only raise money for St. Jude, but also celebrate the money already raised by the board throughout the year.

“The Carnival Night that we are putting on this year is to not only raise more money for St. Jude but reveal how much money we have raised for them in total,” Kutz said. “It’s going to be exciting to see just how much we have raised.”

Prior to this event, the board raised money through many other various ways including tabling at basketball games and working closely with the Greek community each year with the Greek Lip Sync Week to raise money for St. Jude.

The executive board has already raised over $4,000 for the philanthropy, not including this big event said Hargis.

“On the year we are up over $4,000 for sure,” Hargis said. “We’re excited to see roughly what looks like the final numbers of raised money during the Carnival Night fundraiser.”

There are two different ways that you can attend the fundraiser said Hargis.

“There’s two ways to gain entry,” Hargis said. “One is to buy admission at the door which will be donated to St. Jude or you can go to our website and raise money from there to get in.”

A simple small donation is all it takes to get into the fundraiser said Kutz.

“We are asking that every person who wants to participate donates at least five dollars,” Kutz said. “We’re only asking for a little money and it’s for the kids.”

Since there are so many food options closed on Ashland’s campus early Friday, the fundraiser is a great way to satisfy your appetite said Kutz.

“On Fridays, Convo and the Nest are closed after like 6 or 7,” said Kutz. “If anyone is hungry, it’s only five dollars for all you can eat. It is a ton of food and a good time.”

Being able to make a difference in someone’s life is what makes it all worth it said Kutz.

“St. Jude has come a long way since they began,” Kutz said. “Being able to get that child necessary treatment without them worrying about the expenses is why we do this. Helping families to focus on their child instead of having to worry about everyday expenses makes it all worth it.

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