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Nittany Lion at THON 2023
Nittany Lion at THON 2023
Photo by Sophie Yadzinski

Student’s Involvement in THON: A Three Pronged Effort

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

THON is one of the keystone events in Penn State culture. A majority of the student population participates in year-long fundraising and volunteer efforts that culminate during a 46-hour dance marathon.

There are a multitude of ways to get involved in THON as a student, beyond contributing donations. The three most popular ways that students participate in the event are through working as a committee member, dancing and standing for an organization.

Joining a Committee

THON Captain and Committee Members Before the Start of THON 2023
Photo by Sophie Yadzinski

Across 16 different committees, thousands of students work behind the scenes in order for THON to run smoothly.

As a member of the Public Relations Committee, Isabella Lennon, third-year, works with facilitating interviews as well as the production behind THON. The more difficult aspects of her job are in regards to “how to navigate the BJC and making sure I’m on top of my interviews” Lennon said.

Although her method of contribution has its challenges, she laments that:

“I have a much more hands on experience in THON especially being on the floor and being so close to all the families. I love this committee because I get to work with the people I’ve been working with all year, waiting for this weekend and experiencing everything that goes on out on the floor for the full 46 hours.”

Joining a committee is a great way to get involved with THON. It allows students to pour their time and effort into the cause, while also showing them how the effort is run from behind the scenes.

Dancing in THON

Final Four at THON 2023
Photo by Sophie Yadzinski

Each organization that raises money for THON chooses a select few of their members to stand for the entire 46 hours. For these volunteers, this is an honor and extreme challenge.

Penn State’s Club Water Polo chose Mackenzie Boveri to represent their organization.

From the floor, Boveri shared her struggles as a dancer. She expressed that there is “not enough hype music” and that maintaining a positive attitude can be difficult at times.

“You’re the person that people in the stands see, and when DSPs come down they’re the ones that are there to cheer you up, but you’re also there to cheer them up and keep the energy going,” Boveri said.

Despite the inevitable struggles that come as a dancer, Boveri emphasized its impact.

“It’s an amazing organization to be a part of and i’m grateful for every moment that I’ve got to spend with my THON family and everyone in the different organizations,” Boveri said.

She also expressed gratitude for the excitement and energy on the floor.

“I have all my support going down and giving me hugs, keeping me hype. Huge shout out to my DRCMs they’re incredible, amazing people who keep me going,” Boveri said.

Though participating in a dance marathon comes with inevitable challenges, it is a rewarding once in a lifetime experience at the center of THON traditions.

Standing With an Organization

Greek Organizations at THON Weekend 2023
Photo by Sophie Yadzinski

Many organizations across campus show their support for THON by filling the stands with their members for the full 46 hours.

Delaney Gosnell, second year, represents her sorority, Phi Sigma Sigma in their THON related efforts.

Her favorite parts of being in the stands have been “singing along to all the concerts, dancing and stretching during the dancer relation dances and being with friends,” Gosnell said.

In this way, THON helps to build connections across campus in addition to showcasing an outpour of support from peers. This support for the hard work of the dancers and committee members is,

“a once in a lifetime experience, you get to meet so many amazing people”

Delaney Gosnell

These three different methods of involvement allow thousands of students to work towards ending childhood cancer each year. There is a place for everyone to make a change in Penn State’s THON.

Hello! My name is Katherine Engleka and I'm a student at Penn State University. I work as a writing tutor at the writing center and I'm the non-fiction coordinator of Penn State's literary magazine Kalliope.