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Friday, July 13, 2012

THON 2012, The Amazing Face of Penn State

 The big reveal....Over 10 million!

 The exhausted and happy captains after the crowds have departed. 

With the grim news about the "responsible adults" at Penn State this week I couldn't help but think back to a magical weekend in February when more than 15,000 Penn State students capped a year of fund-raising for pediatric cancer with THON, a 30 hour dance marathon held at the Bryce Jordan Center.   Over 700 students dance on the Bryce floor while their teams, filling every seat in the auditorium to the rafters, also stand (yes, if you're in the auditorium you must be standing).  The THON organization set a new record this year, raising over 10 million dollars "For the Kids".  The whole weekend was joyful, adrenaline-filled and, at times, heart-breaking.  THON not only donates money to support cancer researchers and labs at the Hershey Medical Center, including the money used to build the new Pediatric Cancer Pavilion, they also provide outreach, support, fun activities, and smiles for every kid dealing with cancer.

The entire year's operations are organized solely by students -- I kid you not, they had one faculty liaison.  Fifteen "captains" are responsible for 15 different aspects of the endeavor: public relations, rules and regulations, technology, alumni and donor relations, supply logistics, finance, morale, etc.  They each hire large teams that work under them all year (nobody gets paid) and a new set of captains, mostly seniors, is hired each summer.  Overseeing 15,000 "employees" and $10,000,000 in "assets", I would hire any of these graduates in a New York minute.  These kids are truly the amazing faces of Penn State.