As the dignified brief moment of silence filled the colorful Bryce Jordan Center, 46 hours into what would later be the most successful student-run philanthropic movement in history, a closer bond was formed. These hundreds of students, that put their hardest work and dedication into every decision or any moment of free time they had all year, became an even stronger family as the grand total of $12, 374,034.46 raised for the Four Diamonds Fund was revealed.
There was hugging, there were celebratory tears, and there was a sense of pride that nothing could break. And that is what being a part of THON is all about.
Fortunately, at last, it’s that time of year again. Students are eager to greater the previous year’s total and get involved in the whirlwind that is THON. However, with so many options to choose from, how is someone supposed to know what’s right for them – an organization or a committee (or both)?
With committee applications due Friday, we at Valley figured it would be appropriate to get the real information on what really being on a committee and an organization is like, and how they are different in terms of participation. While everyone’s in it for the kids, it is important to know the difference between the two, and how they work together in order to decide which one you would like to be a part of.
Join a committee
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of walking around campus, wearing your THON committee merchandise, and connecting with people all over the world to generate support for such an incredible organization. There are eleven different THON committees, each with multiple positions, and each with their own very essential puzzle piece to the success of the philanthropy.
While organizations are open for anyone to join, THON committees are selective, and have in-depth applications, and follow-up interviews to determine their stellar new members. Committees take on several responsibilities and deal with different criterion than an organization.
“Being on a committee offers insight into the business and planning aspects of THON,” THON Communications Overall Kelly Tompeck says. “Organizations are very fundraising heavy; a side of THON we obviously need. While committees do fund raise, they focus more on learning the ins and outs of what their particular committee does throughout the year.”
For example, the merchandise committee directly deals with selling and distributing THON merchandise, and the Rules and Regulations committee handles security throughout the BJC THON weekend. In order to get involved, applications for committees can be accessed at think.psu.edu, and are due Friday, Sep. 20th online at 5 p.m. and in person at the Alumni Hall in the HUB on Friday between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Give an organization a try
While most people’s initial thought to get involved with THON is via one of its many and thriving committees, there are independent organizations on campus that have their own route of maneuvering their way for the kids THON weekend. Organizations are typically large and focus heavily on fundraising activities, but there may be an aspect of a committee you may be unaware of.
President of Pillar, Kate Hallinger, says that one of the most rewarding aspects of joining an organization is the fact that they have their own THON families as part of the Adopt-A-Family program.
“Having a close connection to a Four Diamonds Family and giving them support while they are going through an extremely hard time is such a privilege,” Hallinger says. “It provides a face to the cause and makes for an even deeper connection to THON.”
Well, there you have it. Both options sounds fantastic, just like THON itself, and the entire philanthropy simply would not exist without one another. The truth is, no matter if you’re in an organization, on a committee or dancing independently, or simply just in the stands, the experience THON offers students is one they will carry with them forever.
Photo by Sabine Clermont