After a five-day voting period, Dixie State University placed fifth for a Camp Kesem chapter on campus; however, there’s still a chance DSU might receive a chapter.
Camp Kesem is a non-profit organization that offers free week-long summer camps run by college students for children who’ve been impacted by a parent’s cancer. Camp Kesem currently has over 100 chapters in 40 states across the U.S.
“[Camp Kesem] provides everything from transportation, lodging, activities, therapy if [the children] need it, and any sort of support these children need throughout the week,” said Sage Hafen, a junior psychology major from St. George.
DSU ended with 6,861 votes on Friday. Even though DSU ended in fifth, the Camp Kesem team is still checking and tallying votes, and four to seven universities will be chosen by Feb. 9. Other finalists competing for a chapter include Colby College, Emerson College, Indiana State University, Louisiana State University, San Diego State University, University of Dayton, University of Delaware, University of Houston, University of North Carolina-Wilmington, University of South Florida and Virginia Tech.
“We were only 280 votes short, so there could still be a chance,” said Rita Osborn, science and technology adjunct.
Hafen said in previous years, schools had received “cheat or fake votes,” so Camp Kesem makes sure to check each of the votes the schools obtain.
Hafen has been the driving force behind wanting to bring a Camp Kesem chapter to DSU. Hafen said she was interested in bringing a chapter to DSU after hearing her mom’s experiences from being on the advisory board for the chapter at Southern Utah University. Hafen couldn’t get involved with the SUU chapter because she isn’t a student there.
In order to apply for a DSU Camp Kesem chapter, Hafen said she had to find 100 students who would be willing to participate in the camps and about 15 professionals, either on campus or from cancer clinics, who would be willing to be on an advisory board. She also had to make sure DSU would allow off-campus banking.
Hafen said bringing a Camp Kesem chapter to DSU would be beneficial for the community because of the new cancer center that will be opening its doors in summer 2018.
“Families will be moving from all over to St. George,” she said. “Right now St. George has one of the greatest treatments for cancer because we do more than just the normal treatments.”
Douglas Sainsbury, adviser for biology and pre-professional students, helped spread the word about the voting process for Camp Kesem and said having a chapter at DSU would benefit the children in the community.
“They’ll be able to interact with students or other kids who are in similar situations where their parents are affected by cancer as well,” Sainsbury said. “It’s really a great support for them going through something that’s going to be very difficult at a young age.”