As a part of Onward State’s commitment to help establish more immediate access to THON to the Penn State community, of which it is such a huge part, I have conducted a series of interviews with the each of the 2011-2012 overalls. These are the students who have taken the initiative to lead this organization, so may we all take a moment to learn from their words and help implement their ideas into our continued fight against pediatric cancer. May we always “Brighten Every Journey.”
Onward State: Summarize some of the responsibilities of the Rules & Regulations Committee, and then the role you play as the Overall within those responsibilities.
Mairead Hanna: The Rules & Regulations Captains and Committee Members are responsible for the security of the BJC during THON Weekend, as well as at various pre-THON events, like the Family Carnival and the FT5K, where the committee members may be working as well. The captains work closely with the Tech Captains to create the PASS System, which is also utilized at the Family Carnival. This the second year using this system, so we are hoping that it goes well this year, without a hitch. They are responsible for all the can cleanings, materials distribution, and follow through on fundraising safety for all canners. For alternative fundraisers, they make sure that everything is FTK appropriate.
On top of that, we have inter-committee relations captains, who are responsible for setting up three massive R&R events throughout the year, so we can have 1,200 people in one room at the same time, which is always impressive. We also just started a new position which is aimed at more organization outreach, so that we can help to bridge the gap between R&R and organizations, making sure we are communicating everything properly, and understand what their concerns are.
OS: What made you want to take on the position of Overall of the Rules & Regulations Committee?
MH: I knew I was staying here a fifth year, two years ago because I changed my major, and I just didn’t see why not. This organization has given me so much, and so I wanted to be able to give back as much as I possibly could. I was one of those lost freshman, but I joined R&R sophomore year and I got more of a structure to my life, and just enjoyed it. Then, as a captain for two years, I saw changes that I loved and didn’t love, and I wanted to be someone who could help facilitate those changes.
OS: What are you looking to change/do differently this year with the Rules & Regulations Committee to help improve it?
MH: We really are focusing on organization outreach. There is a lot of disconnect, and sometimes R&R is seen as the bad guys, which is understandable when they don’t know why some rules exist. We are trying to make things more straightforward. The Rule Book was totally redone over last year and this summer to make it very black and white. This way, people will know, if you do this, this will happen.
There is also a lot of focus on committee member involvement, and giving committee members more of an identity based on their captain’s position. So even our Dancer Registration Captain’s committee members will be working with Morale to teach R&R members how to morale dancers when they are on the floor during THON Weekend. We want everyone to have a greater identity in R&R, and to be proud of their work.
OS: What moment or moments are you most looking forward to during this upcoming THON year? Be as specific or vague as you want.
MH: I’m really looking forward to, from an R&R perspective, seeing committee members who didn’t have R&R as their first choice just fall in love with THON. Not R&R, not any specific committee, or event, but just having that passion. No matter what they are doing, they are excited because they see who it is effecting.
OS: Why do you THON?
MH: I have a hard time with this question because I have been very blessed in that I have never dealt personally with pediatric cancer. But there’s no reason anyone should ever have to go through that. Last year, I went to Hershey on a special visitors trip, and I met a little girl named Bella, who was 4 or 5 years old. We bonded because we both liked Hannah Montana. Then, a few weeks later I found out that they had found 6 tumors in her brain, and that was one of those moments that reaffirmed why I do this. It was the first time I was angry. I was mad because this girl had more tumors in her brain than years she had lived. That was a driving moment for why I decided I wanted to be an Overall and do all that I could for Rules & Regulations.
OS: Name an event or two that you think will make this year’s line dance.
MH: I hope they have “Friday” in there because that didn’t come until later. But I think the earthquake will definitely be in it. I have been trying to come up with couplets, and they don’t want any of them, but I will just try to submit them anyway.
OS: Finally, if you could be any dinosaur, which one would you be, and why?
MH: I would be a Brachiosaurus because they were humongous. Everyone thinks it is Brontosaurus, but that’s the combination of the Brachiosaurus and Apatosaurus—I was really into dinosaurs as a kid—so yeah, the Brachiosaurus. They were herbivores. I don’t know. They were just huge, majestic creatures. They were probably really clumsy, but I think they’re really cool.
If you enjoyed this interview, make sure to check out the previous installments of the Overall Series: Public Relations, Communications, Supply Logistics, Special Events, & Technology as well as my 10 questions with THON Overall Elaine Tanella. Also, catch up on the rest of the recent THON content: THON 2012 Theme, FT5K 2011, THON 2012 Theme, Overall Life Lessons, 2011 Summary of Fundraising Activities, Canning Map Weekend #1, Canning “Do”s & “Don’t”s, New to THON.