Pre-THON Presser: 5 Takeaways

The Penn State Dance Marathon (THON) opened up weekend festivities with a press conference featuring Austin Sommerer, executive director of THON; Sam Sherlock, THON’s Public Relations director; Charles Millard, founder of the Four Diamonds fund and Suzanne Graney, Four Diamonds’ Executive Director.

Here are five takeaways from the conference:

1) On the importance of the THON – Four Diamonds partnership:

Everyone spoke about how strong the bond has been between the two and how beneficial it has been.

  • Executive Director of the Four Diamonds Foundation, Suzanne Graney. “It’s been a great way to see the efforts that they are doing year round.”
  • Four Diamonds Founder Charles Millard: “I always feels that THON breathes life into the whole thing.”
2) On Metal Detectors this year:
  • Public Relations Director Sam Sherlock said that the metal detectors were an idea of the Bryce Jordan Center. They already had them available, so it is a way to increase security measures.
3) On the decrease of dancers:
  • To start, there were 708 dancers total this year. Now, the number of dancers is 703. When asked about the absence of dancers, Public Relations Director Sam Sherlock put it simply: if an organization is not in good standing with the university, they cannot dance.
4) On Alternatives to Canning:
  • This year, THON was restricted to only two canning weekends. When asked how that would affect this year’s total, Executive Director Austin Sommerer spoke on how THON has pushed organizations to be more creative. “The end goal is for the Four Diamond Fund…I think this year has been so special because we have tried a variety of new fundraising efforts,” he said. “This will help us to be more innovative and have little niches. [canning] was an overwhelmed market and I know we’ll be successful going forward.”
5) On what Executive Director Austin Sommerer is most excited for this weekend:
  • “There are a lot of moving parts in THON. To see them come together is something that is so incredible to watch. You can see your piece, but I have grown so incredibly proud of the community,” he said. “This is a perfect example of how so many students can come together and put on something magical.”

Photo Credit: Nicole Dantzler