If you’ve paid any attention to the total reveals at THON over the past few years or ever came across a Penn State student dawning a pink fuzzy hat, you have probably heard of an organization known as Atlas. As one of the largest special interest organizations, created solely for the purpose of fundraising for THON, Atlas has become well recognized across the Penn State campus. Being a member myself, you could say I’m a little bias, but with the unprecedented totals and the unending passion of its members, I don’t think anyone can deny the impact this organization has had throughout the THON community.
Atlas recently named their new Executive Board for THON 2015 and I got the chance to have a few words with their new president.
Name: Kevin Cass
Major: Nuclear Engineering & Mechanical Engineering
When did you first get involved with Atlas and why?
After visiting the involvement fair during the first week of my freshman year I decided I’d like to get involved with THON through a special interest org. I think everyone chooses their particular org for different reasons, and for me it was as simple as going to the first meeting. The energy and passion of everyone I met at that meeting, from the executive board right down to the other general members, was infectious and convinced me to stick around. The rest is history.
Though I’m sure there are a variety of reasons, if you were to attribute Atlas’s outrageous success over the past few years to one thing, what would it be? What is it that sets you apart from the rest?
That’s a very interesting question. I’ve never been a part of another org, so it’s difficult for me to compare us to everyone else. What I do know is that we have A TON of very passionate, very involved members who are always willing to do more for our cause. We’ve also been lucky enough to have had forward-thinking leaders over the years who put in place the systems that were necessary for utilizing all these members, even as our org has grown in size.
What is your fondest memory as a member of Atlas?
There have been a lot of incredible moments over the years. The entertaining canning weekends I’ve been on, standing in the Atlas stands for my first THON in 2012, being elected to the executive board for the first time last year, and dancing in THON just to name a few. If I had to pick the best moment though, it would have to be when I visited the Hershey Children’s Hospital during the final four hours of THON 2013. Atlas has sent a small group to the hospital over the past few years as a way of supporting the children who are too sick to attend THON. Being in the building of that amazing hospital that THON had helped pay for when our total was revealed, and having the parents of four diamonds families thank me for what I’d done was emotionally overwhelming to say the least. It will be something I will carry with me as long as I live.
What’s one quality you believe every member of Atlas possesses?
I can’t think of a better word than passion. If I called any one of our members right now and asked them if they could do something that would benefit THON, I’m pretty sure that they would do it. No matter how busy they might be, each one of our members are always so motivated and so happy to do anything that would help to support a Four Diamonds family.
What’s one goal you have for Atlas for the upcoming year?
I would love to see the special interest organizations, general organizations, and Greek organizations of the THON community work better together. We’re all raising money for the kids after all, so there’s no reason we shouldn’t communicate our best practices, support each other’s fundraisers, and combine our efforts when possible. I think the air of competitiveness between organizations is healthy, but in the end I have no doubt that we can be so much stronger when we remember that we are all united by a common, worthy cause.
Any words of advice for students looking to become involved in your organization?