Behind the Scenes of THON: Allie Maniglia, Merchandise Captain

We’ve all heard the numbers before: over 16,500 student volunteers, more than 136 million dollars raised and over 400 organizations participating.  However, what actually goes on leading up to and during the 46 hours that is the culmination of the largest student-run philanthropy in the world?  We’ve interviewed students in different roles to figure out how they’re contributing to making THON 2018 the best one yet:

Name: Allie Maniglia

Year: Senior

Major: Public Relations 

Role: Customer Relations & Online Store Management 

Committee: Merchandise 

Her Campus: What’s your favorite part of THON weekend?

Allie Maniglia: I just love the fact that for one weekend, the families are able to forget about their worries and focus on having fun. THON is something that some families never thought they'd be able to experience and the whole year, they're reminded that they're not alone in their fight. The people involved in THON are some of the most amazing people I've ever met and it's just so nice to be surrounded by people who are all committed to making the lives of families impacted childhood cancer easier. The amount of love you feel in the BJC is unparalleled.


HC: Why did you choose this role?

AM: I've been on a different committee every year since my freshman year and I was interested in continuing to learn about different committees. Merch always intrigued me because I wasn't sure what they did throughout the weekend and was really interested in learning more about it. My co-captains are the greatest people I've ever met and I'm definitely so glad that I found my home in the merch faM.


HC: What specifically does your committee during the year to prepare for THON?

AM: A lot of our work is done before THON weekend. We hold sales at the THON 5k, Family Carnival and at Hershey. We have captains working on inventory management, order fulfillment, licensing and designing amazing merch for both the store and THON organizations/committees. There's a ton of facets that I didn't really know Merch handled before applying for my position but we manage all of these components while also running the physical store in the HUB. The mission of our committee is to spread awareness of THON's mission across the world through the sale and creation of THON merchandise.

HC: So, what exactly do you all do during THON weekend?

AM: THON weekend is obviously one of our biggest sales, so we'll spend the majority of the weekend selling merchandise, managing inventory at those stores and organizing our storage areas. If you're looking for us, make sure to head to our stores at Gate A and C throughout the weekend! We love to see your smiling faces!


About THON: Penn State THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.  Thousands of Penn State students, a part of more than 400 student organizations, work tirelessly across all campuses to support the kids and their families. These year-long efforts end in a 46-hour dance marathon. students called will stand on the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center for the full 46 hours.  The organizations sponsoring these dancers stand in the seats of the Bryce Jordan Center and cheer on their friends and organization members. Pairs can also dance independently, without an organization, and are chosen to do so through a lottery system.

Organizations are assigned a family with a child being treated or who had received treatment for cancer at Hershey Medical Center and received financial and emotional support from the money raised through THON.  For these THON kids and families, THON is a celebration of life.  Kids join dancers on the floor and complete games, fashion shows and other fun events.

Over the years 147,000,000 dollars have been raised that has dramatically impacted families through lowered treatment costs and research funding. To donate please visit,