Cabrini hosts St. Jude benefit dinner

By Megan Kutulis
February 17, 2010

Cabrini students, faculty and community members bundled up and braved the cold weather to support St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital on Friday, Feb. 5. In the process, guests were treated to a great dinner of comfort foods, and raised over $4,000 to support cancer research.

The dinner, which is in its sixth year, was sponsored by the campus organization Up ‘Til Dawn until two years ago, when the group folded due to lack of funding and interest. For the past two years, the event was organized exclusively by an assortment of Cabrini students and department members.

Chef Rodney Stockett and Sodexo Dining Services prepared a “comfort food”-themed meal and Melissa Waters, director of student diversity initiatives, organized the event, with help from student leaders.

“In agreeing to help out, I asked the student groups who work with my department to help with coordination and recruiting for a new audience,” Waters said in an e-mail interview. “The three student groups I advise, Black Student Union, La Raza and Sanctuary, all helped with donations and the night of the event.”

Besides treating guests to a delicious dinner, the event hosted a basket raffle. Each basket had a different theme, including Valentine’s Day and Ice Cream Sundae. All proceeds from the raffle and the tickets went directly to St. Jude’s.

For students, the $25 ticket price wasn’t daunting. Dani Degnan, secondary special education major, came to represent CAP Board and was surprised at the number of students present.

“I think it really shows the maturity of Cabrini students, and I think it’s important to get the cause out there,” Degnan said.

Despite the overwhelming support of students and community members, this year’s dinner was the last one that will be hosted on Cabrini’s campus. Lack of funding has caused a strain on organizations financing the event.

“Chef Rodney informed everyone at the dinner that this will unfortunately be the last year this event happens at Cabrini. There will definitely be a St. Jude’s benefit happening next year, but it will be off campus,” Waters said.

Fortunately, Cabrini went out with a bang. This year’s dinner was nearly sold out, and exceeded expectations for donation. Still, attendees are disappointed to see the event go.

“I was surprised that the dinner might not be around next year. I was ready to sign up for it and get others to do the same. I have probably missed one or two over the years because of other commitment, but I’m obviously an enthusiastic supporter, and not just because I won the basket of bread in the raffle,” Dr. Sharon Schwarze, philosophy department chair, joked.

Schwarze echoed the sentiments of students and faculty alike, who agree that cancer research is a worthwhile cause, and one worth backing whether or not Cabrini hosts the dinner.

“It’s close to my heart personally, but I think everyone should be involved because it’s such a high risk and it’s so prevalent in society. I think that no matter what, if you know someone with cancer or not, it’s important because so many are affected,” Degnan said.

Students interested in learning more about St. Jude’s or donating to cancer research can visit the organization’s Web site at

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Megan Kutulis

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