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Life > Experiences

What THON™ Means to Me

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

“THON™ is a student-run philanthropy committed to enhancing the lives of children and families impacted by childhood cancer. Our mission is to provide emotional and financial support, spread awareness, and ensure funding for critical research—all in pursuit of a cure.”


My experience working within this organization has been nothing short of amazing. Most importantly, I feel a sense of purpose every time I step foot in Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center, where all the magic happens during THON™ Weekend.

THON Weekend consists of 46 hours of standing. No sleep, no sitting.

As mentioned on the THON™ website, students, volunteers and Four Diamonds families join together to give kids and their families the opportunity to forget about their cancer diagnosis. Over 700 students are recognized as dancers for THON Weekend, a feat that entails standing on their feet for the entirety of the weekend.

We are heading into my last THON™ Weekend as a student at Penn State, so I wanted to reflect on my time as a THON™ volunteer and share my unique experience on different committees all four years.


THON™ consists of roughly 16,500 student volunteers and 16 different committees that help plan the different events throughout the year.

Since all the committees’ duty is to continuously spread THON’s mission, my role as an Operations Committee Member was to oversee the setup, planning, maintenance and cleanup of events and THON Weekend.

However, this does not really exemplify my experience as an OPP CM.

My first year of college was during COVID-19. THON™ was still held in the BJC, though there were little to no volunteers allowed at events.

My committee and I watched the THON™ Weekend livestream together on Zoom. Although I did not have the opportunity to witness the magic of THON™ Weekend in person, we celebrated our year of hard work by going sledding, 1/2 priced apps at Applebees and forming great friendships.


New year, new committee. This was my first in-person THON™ as a student, and my role was to act as security for the weekend.

As the THON™ website explains, “the Rules and Regulations Event Safety Committee is responsible for ensuring a safe and secure environment. The committee works to provide a positive experience at all THON Events to volunteers and supporters, coordinating the logistical aspects such as Building Security and Floor access.”

After my first THON™ in the BJC, I felt like I was able to fully understand its importance. Witnessing the drastic impact our hard work has on the Four Diamonds families makes it the best feeling in the world.

THON 2023 Entertainment Committee
Original photo by Hannah Workman


In my third year at Penn State, I was chosen to be a Dancer Relations CM. My role was to care for the physical and mental well being of two THON dancers. As they agreed to no sitting and sleeping for 46 hours, it was my role to care for them in any way that I could.

I formed lasting relationships with the dancers as we spent every minute together. This was probably the most rewarding role in my THON experience because I saw my efforts changing the lives of someone else right in front of me.


For my last and final year as a THON™ volunteer, I have a captain role as Administrative Assistant for the Alumni Engagement committee on DAR (Donor Alumni Relations).

In this position, I am the right-hand woman to my director. I help with any tasks I can, but my projects have recently consisted of planning internal events, sending out meeting recaps, designing and ordering all committee merch, keeping committee organized and planing the timeline for THON™ Weekend.

With this bigger responsibility, I feel closer to the THON families. I have had the opportunity to form friendships with the Four Diamonds kids and allow myself to push myself beyond believed limits.

Four Diamonds THON
Erin Campbell

I am so fortunate for THON™ and its impact it has not only me, but on the entire community. Aside from the financial aspect, THON™ also helps people to become softer, kinder and more understanding souls.

I am a better person because of THON™. I am a better person for the Four Diamonds families. I am a better person For The Kids.

Check out THON’s website to view more of its impact.
Emily Gladu is a fourth-year studying Advertising and Business at Penn State University. In her free time, you will find Emily watching any Philadelphia sports team or catching a flight to her next adventure! She loves to catch up on the latest fashion trends & discover new music!