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 Technology Committee, and then the role you play as the Overall within those responsibilities.
Andrew Ogburn: Our biggest responsibilities involve our three main systems: THON.org, THINK, and the PASS system. THON.0rg is our website, the electronic face of THON. The PASS system is what manages the floor capacity throughout THON weekend, so it’s how dancers, families, and organizations get onto the floor at any point. THINK stands for THON Information Network. Communications and Finance manage organizations through it, Donor & Alumni Relations and Supply Logistics have all their contacts in it, and much more. Technology has to network everything, like the PASS system during THON weekend.
My role as the Overall is to oversee all of this. I do take some responsibility in getting down and dirty with code, but my captains mainly take care of that. I facilitate their work, and follow up to make sure it’s all running smoothly.
OS: What made you want to take on the position of Overall of the Technology Committee?
AO: Over the past two years of my involvement I have had great leaders. MY first year as a committee member, I had awesome captains, so I wanted to take on the captain position. I wanted to give the same thing to my committee if I received one. Then last year, my former Overall, Fitz (Mike Fitzpatrick, THON Entertainment Overall 2011), was just such a cool guy, and again, I just wanted to take my commitment to the next level. I wanted to be the same thing he was for me, for others, and improve on where he left off. I wanted to be a great leader, help everyone out, and do as much work for this organization as I could.
OS: What are you looking to change/do differently this year with the Technology Committee to help improve it?
AO: The Tech committee is becoming standardized. The other committees operate in a certain way and I’m kind of pushing Tech towards that. That’s probably the biggest thing, but in regards to our systems, it’s just continually trying to improve them.
OS: I know there have been problems with the PASS system in past years.
AO: Yeah, last year was the best year yet, and on average, we didn’t have people waiting in line for more than an hour. There are little caveats with the new system, so we are working them out and figuring out the best logistics, and working with the BJC to make sure it all works.
OS: What moment or moments are you most looking forward to during this upcoming THON year? Be as specific or vague as you want.
AO: I can’t say just one moment, but I guess I will go back first, and say that picking captains was a moment I was really looking forward to. That was a really fun experience. Interviewing with the rest of the Overall Committee for their captains. I was home for my brother’s wedding, so I wish I could have actually been there with them for it, but it was still cool. The THON 5K is coming up soon, so I’m getting excited for that. If I had to pick just one moment though, I would say Family Hour, because that’s when it all hits me the hardest. It’s one of the reasons I applied to be an Overall. Kevin Rupp’s speech last year was just amazing.
OS: Why do you THON?
AO: My family has been very fortunate. I’ve never had anyone pass away because of cancer. When I got involved and heard of all the families struggling with this, I…I just can’t even imagine what that would be like. I guess I THON because I don’t want people to have to go through that. I hear a little of these stories from the families, but there’s still that disconnect, and I don’t really know just how bad it is, but I know that no one should have be put through that. It’s a terrible thing to be able to comprehend.
OS: Name an event or two that you think will make this year’s line dance.
AO: I would say the THON 5K if it gets even bigger, which I’m sure it will. The earthquake. That was pretty huge.
OS: Finally, if you could be any dinosaur, which one would you be, and why?
AO: First thought that comes to my mind is Velociraptor. I guess because they are so sneaky. You could turn around, and BOOM, it’s a raptor.
OS: Also, are we wearing the same pants?
AO: …Calvin Klein?
AO: These are Calvin Klein. What are yours?
OS: Levi’s. They just kind of looked the same, so I thought I should ask.
I think that gave a nice “…huh…” feeling to the end of the interview.
If you enjoyed this interview, make sure to check out the previous installments of the Overall Series: Donor & Alumni Relations, Rules & Regulations, Public Relations, Communications, Supply Logistics, & Special Events, as well as my 10 questions with THON Overall Elaine Tanella. Also, catch up on the rest of the recent THON content: Mr. & Mrs. THON, Johnson & Johnson Dedicated to THON, 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.