An “Up til Dawn†Thriller

By Jake Thielen

Oakland University is looking for students who enjoy raising money for charity, and doing the dance from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” at the same time.

On Friday, Oct. 29, the Department of Campus Recreation and the Up ‘Til Dawn student organization will team together to host an event to raise money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Nicole Kudialis, executive director of Up ‘Til Dawn, said teaming up with the Department of Campus Recreation, and combining their separate events, will help get more students involved.

“With the collaboration, we are able to target students that the other might not have been able to,” Kudialis said. “Not to mention the collaboration really benefitted Up ‘Til Dawn because it provided us with a larger venue to hold our event.”

Dan Bettmann, the intramural and club sports coordinator, said he began talking with Up ‘Til Dawn coordinators about combining the events over the summer.

“We didn’t want to compete with (Up ‘Til Dawn) because they have a good event and they have a good cause,” Bettmann said. “Ours is just to get people out for something fun to do, be social, and they have a good cause, but they need people to come out and have fun to do it. The two complement each other.”

The event has two main components – the Fun Run and “Thriller” dance and a letter-sending party that will raise money for the hospital.

Kudialis said this will be Up ‘Til Dawn’s sixth annual letter-sending party, and the event has raised $87,919 for St. Jude in the last five years.

“Students attending the event will bring addresses with them to fill out a generic donation letter and address an envelope,” Kudialis said. “These letters are then sent out to the people asking for a donation on behalf of that student to the St. Jude Hospital.”

The Department of Campus Recreation will host the Fun Run and “Thriller” dance portion of the event.

Bettmann said the event will kick off with the Fun Run at 5:30 p.m. at the Upper Fields.

“It’s about a two-mile run, where costumes are encouraged, that ends at the Rec Center,” Bettmann said. “That leads right into where we will try to get as many people as possible to learn the ‘Thriller’ dance.”

Bettmann said costumes are strongly encouraged for the “Thriller” dance as well, and that the performance will be filmed and put up on the Internet.

“At the end of the night, at roughly 8:30 p.m., we’re going to try to videotape the entire group (doing the dance),” Bettmann said. “We’re hoping for as many students as possible.”

Bettmann said he hopes to have at least 500 students to participate.

After the taping is completed, the letter-sending party will resume. The event is scheduled to conclude at midnight.

In addition to the dance and letter-sending party, the event will also feature other activities such as laser tag, an obstacle course, gladiator jousting in the gym, tarot card readers, a costume contest, and a photo booth.

The event is free and open to all students with an OU ID. Free food will be provided throughout the event.

Students don’t have to sign up in advance to attend any portion of the event. However, Kudialis said students interested in the letter-sending party can register in advance at, which will help the organizers determine how many students will attend.

Door prizes for the event include AMC gift cards and prizes from Chartwells and the OU Bookstore. Every student who writes 50 letters will also be entered into a drawing to win an iPod Touch.