For many students at Penn State, finding their “fit” is important.
That “fit” comes in many ways: club sports, Greek life, academic and professional organizations, and THON.
When Regan Bortz was a freshman, she found her fit with THON. Bortz was a Dancer Relations Committee Member, one of many tasked with planning the health, safety, and enjoyment of the 708 THON dancers during THON weekend.
From there, Bortz went through the ranks and is now a THON 2018 Communications Captain.
“THON each year has given me a family that I still am close to today. It has shown me that one of the amazing things about being a Penn State student is the unlimited amount of opportunities that are presented to give back,” she said. “It has encouraged me to continue to give back to those who are in need well after I am an official graduate.”
The Penn State Dance Marathon or THON is a year-long effort to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer. The marathon is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world and has raised millions for the Four Diamonds, an organization that assists childhood cancer patients at the Penn State Children’s Hospital.
THON is more than just a weekend celebration in the Bryce Jordan Center in February. Throughout the year, students, faculty/staff, and community members work towards a cure through events such as the THON 5K, 100 Days ’til THON celebration, sporting events, and even a family carnival.
Year in and year out, THON has exposed students at Penn State to something bigger than themselves.
“THON has given me the opportunity to contribute my time to an important cause that is close to the hearts of many people. It has brought me to meet people that inspire and motivate me every day to put my time into something bigger than myself,” said Maddy Hughes the Media Relations Leader for THON’s 2018 Public Relations Committee. “My time involved in THON will stick with me for my entire life and I cannot put into words the amount of appreciation I have for the lessons it has taught me.”
Many students heavily involved in THON got their starts on various THON committees. Committee members “plan for and attend THON events as part of a team that is dedicated to making THON a success year after year.”
Students can apply to be a part of one of sixteen committees, including Communications, Entertainment, Finance, Hospitality, and Rules and Regulations. Often times, those THON committees become an extended family.
“As a Dancer Relations Committee Member you get to become a member of a 36-person family,” said Tyler Akers a THON 2018 Alumni Engagement Captain. “Over the course of the next 5 months, your captain and committee will share their personal stories, create inside jokes, and work together to spread the mission of THON.”
Alex Myers, a 2018 THON Dancer Relations Captain echoed the same sentiments. “Being on a THON committee has without a doubt been the capstone of my college career. I can say without hesitation that joining a committee was integral to my Penn State experience.
“There’s something so humbling about connecting with a group of people, watching one another grow, and creating lasting friendships; all FTK and in pursuit of a cure.”
THON 2018 committee members applications are due Sept. 15, 2017, by 5 p.m. on think.thon.org. and handed into Alumni Hall in the HUB-Robeson Center on Sept.15, 2017 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
[Editor’s note: A prior version of this article said that there were eleven THON committees instead of sixteen. The article has been updated.]