THON 2020: Get Involved

Photo by @THON on Twitter

While it may seem like THON 2019 was just a few weeks ago, it’s already time to start looking ahead to THON 2020. Whether you were a committee or organization member previously, or are searching for new ways to get involved in the cause, it’s time to start thinking about how you want to make an impact next year.

Executive Director of THON 2020, Regina Duesler, planned and executed the first-ever THON Spring Involvement Fair in order to educate the Penn State community on the many different ways to get involved in THON.

“The main goal of the event is to bring together the community and spread the world about THON 2020,” Duesler says.

In addition, there are many brand new spring captain positions this year, and Duseler and the rest of the executive committee felt it was important to spread the word, in order to have as much student participation as possible.

“My main goal for THON 2020 is to give every student and stakeholder a chance to have the opportunity to be involved in the ways they want. I want everyone to have their THON moment and create their own personal story,” Duseler says.

Photo by Dana Weltman

The involvement fair took place on April 2 in the HUB and featured a variety of different organization members and captains. Students had the opportunity to get to know different directors and captains and learn a little bit more about the various roles one could take on as a THON volunteer.

VALLEY spoke to many organizations and committees and learned more about how to go about getting more involved.

Consider Joining  A Committee

There are committee member positions on 11 different committees, ranging from Rules & Regulations to Merchandise. Applications open in early September each school year, so be sure to look out for them on THINK early next year.

Junior Courtney Moul was a member of a Hospitality committee, which makes sure there are enough food and beverage donations for all THON events.

“Everyone on my committee was super passionate about the hospitality aspects of THON. My captains were so approachable and helpful, and everyone was fully committed to making sure the food aspects of THON weekend were taken care of,” Moul says.

A committee is a great opportunity to join a group of students who are equally as passionate about the cause. According to CMs on multiple committees, the bonds formed on THON committees are indescribable and something so special.

Participate With an Organization

If you’re interested in joining an organization to fundraise, make friends and attend THON with, a special interest organization may be for you. Various large groups of students come together to spread THON’s mission all year through their fundraising initiatives and social events.

One of the most well known special interest organizations is Atlas. They are famous for wearing their pink fuzzy hats whenever they get a chance and are one of the largest special interest THON organizations here at Penn State.

Photo by Dana Weltman

“We’re most looking forward to being back in the BJC and having the best time with our org members. We are especially already looking forward to final four,” one member told VALLEY.

Apply for a Captain Position

Ready to take your THON involvement to the next level? Consider applying to be a captain! There are a variety of different positions that are open in both the fall and spring. Spring captain applications are due April 11, so it’s important to consider very soon if this is something you are interested in.

Zack Durnack, the 2019 THON Showcase Captain, was one of the spring captains in 2019. He particularly liked being a spring captain due to the ability to spend more time learning and understanding what the position entailed.

“Being a spring captain is so different than fall. You get eased into the THON season at a much slower pace, but there are also challenges of balancing things like a summer internship with your normal THON responsibilities, which kind of threw me off a bit in the beginning. But, it is a great opportunity to grow, and then you can become a resource for fall captains when they are selected,” Durnack says.

Not sure if you want to apply for a spring position? There are still months before fall applications are released, and there are many positions that will be available once we head back to campus next semester.

Dance in THON 2020

If you are interested in participating in the full 46 hours as one of 700 dancers, believe it or not, it is important to consider that now. While there are captain and committee member positions that can dance, they are limited and many of the captain positions are spring positions. As long as you have an acting THON chair for the weekend, primary chairs are often able to dance as well.

Almost anyone who dances considers it to be one of the best, if not the best weekend of their lives.

Taylor Novitsky, a senior civil engineering major danced in THON 2019 on behalf of her role model and friend Kayla Nakonechni, a Penn State student and eventually, Four Diamonds child who passed away from brain cancer. Novitsky was inspired by her friend’s dedication to the cause and knew she wanted to dance in her senior year THON.

“I was overwhelmed with emotions throughout the weekend, and as hard as it was at times, knowing that I was following in the footsteps of Kayla made it all worth it. THON 2019 was one of the best experiences of my life and I will always cherish it,” Novitsky says.

No matter how you choose to get involved in THON 2020, every single volunteer plays an incredible role. It may seem far away, but it is never too early to plan how you want to be involved.


How Joining a THON Committee Changed My Perspective on THON

THON Committees: Know Before You Go

THON: To Join an Organization or Committee?


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