Yeah, college kids like to party, drink, and have fun. But sometimes we do actually like to help out those less fortunate than us. Skeptical? Well, here are five of the biggest charities run by students. Try not feeling inspired after reading about these selfless kids! Then again, you might not think they’re so selfless after hearing about how much fun they’re having being charitable.
Undie Run Challenge
Take off the clothes. Donate the clothes. Run wild. he event was created by UCLA students back in 2002 and quickly caught on at campuses around the country. It has become an amazing way for students to celebrate a successful academic year while donating their discarded clothes and helping out their local community. This year, students from 10 colleges will be participating in the AXE Undie Run Challenge, including Arizona State University, University of Wisconsin, University of Texas and University of Maryland. They’ll be competing against each other to see which student group can donate the most clothes for charity. AXE, the guys’ grooming brand, is also making a collective donation of $50,000 to the charities. Think about it as a genuinely good-natured bikini contest/pajama party: you can run around half-naked and you’re helping to clothe those in need. Philanthropy just got a whole more naked.
Relay for Life
Twenty five years ago a colorectal surgeon, Dr. Gordy Klatt, walked around a track for 24 hours to raise awareness and money for cancer research. His determination has led to a nationwide event at over 350 colleges. Students form teams, raise money, and spend up to 24 hours walking around a track in a continued effort to remember loved ones who have battled cancer as well raise even more money for their cause. Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life attracts over 3.5 million people from 20 different countries to participate in this spectacular event that has helped the ACS raise money to fight cancer. With corporate sponsors helping out as well, the American Cancer Society has been able to raise tens of millions of dollars. Just last year, corporate sponsor UPS sent 89 teams of volunteers that raised up to $181,000.
The annual Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, known as THON, raises money and awareness for pediatric cancer. What started in 1973 as a small group of students dancing through the night grew into a huge philanthropy event attracting over ten thousand students. THON has over 15,000 student volunteers and have eclipsed raising over $61 million for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Children’s hospital. The Four Diamonds Fund provides cancer patients and their families with money that insurance companies do not cover and also helps fund research grants at the hospital’s research institute. In 2010 they raised $7,838,054.36. Not too shabby for a little late night dancing.
St. Judes Up Till Dawn
One night. One cause. Our campus. The Up ‘Till Dawn motto sums up the event that works to raise awareness and money for pediatric cancer. Students spend weeks raising money and preparing for the final night where they stay up all night in honor of those children that battle cancer every day. And if there’s one thing college students are good at, it’s pulling all-nighters. Some do it playing video games, others because they have a 15-page paper due at 9am — but whatever the reason usually is, staying up participating in games and activities all night to raise money for cancer research is a nice change for college students. What started as a one campus event has now spread to over 250 campuses across the country. After 10 years in action, the Up ’til Dawn program now raises up to $5 million every year.
The Big Event
Everything is bigger in Texas, including Texas A&M’s student-run service project, the Big Event. The yearly day of service sends students out into the local community to help out in whatever way they can. Not only are they proud to be helping out their neighbors, but they’re also happy to say they’re the largest student-run day of service in the country. The projects include yard work, window washing, and painting for members of the community. They also help plant new trees at public parks and patching up roofs on residential homes. With a student body of over 48,000, the surrounding community can accomplish weeks worth of work in just one day with the help of the Aggies.