Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Service Never Sleeps

I work in higher education, and somehow the phrase "service never sleeps" has been associated with me as my motto.  #serviceneversleeps is a frequent hashtag around our office, and with good reason -- how do you sleep when there's always something more that can be done to make the world a better place?  

You know something else that doesn't sleep?  College students.  They pull all-nighters cramming for midterms and writing papers, they party with friends (responsibly, or so they tell me), they binge on coffee and froyo (frozen yogurt, of course), and they rarely get their full 8 hours of sleep during the week.  Weekends are precious -- filled with sleeping in, brunch, and relaxing with friends.  But for two weekends at most universities, college students give up their sleep and participate different kinds of "service never sleeps" events: Dance Marathon and Relay for Life.

Dance Marathons can support a variety of causes and are hosted at schools across the country.  The most successful one - supposedly the largest student-run philanthropy in the world - is at Penn State, known as 'THON.  'THON has raised over $100,000,000 for cancer research!  Dance Marathon at UCLA just completed its 13th year and has raised over $3.5 million Pediatric AIDS through a 26-hour themed dance party.  I'm proud to support my students who dance, morale, and volunteer throughout the weekend for a cause - and in the most hilarious outfits!  Learn more about the team I personally supported - the UCLA Alumni Scholars Club (Go Ira!) - which consists of students at UCLA on scholarship who complete tons of service each quarter to better the community.

Photo Credit: PAC UCLA

Relay for Life is an organized, overnight community fundraising walk around a school track.  For 24 hours, Relayers camp out, listen to music, play games, and have fun, all while at least one member of the team is walking around the track.  Since 1985, friends and groups of people have helped the American Cancer Society (ACS) provide hope and inspiration while fundraising to fight cancer.  ACS's motto is "the official sponsor of birthdays," and most college campuses now take a full 24 hours of a spring weekend to participate in this fun and inspirational event.  To learn more about the team I'm supporting this weekend at UCLA, visit the Alpha Chi Omega Relay for Life team.

Photo Credit: Relay for Life

So, next time you think about taking a nap or sleeping in, consider the life of a college student.  Consider dancing to fight AIDS, walking to fight cancer, or writing a blogpost at midnight about the students who inspire you. #serviceneversleeps

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