When I was a freshman at Penn State, I knew close to nothing about THON. I knew it was a big deal at Penn State, raised a ton of money to fight pediatric cancer, and that’s where it started and ended.
However, while I couldn’t (and still can’t) keep up in conversation with THON activists, decipher how to pronounce the names of the frats and sorority orgs, or tell you the difference between all of the different committees. I knew and admired one specific group, however: Atlas FTK.
Atlas FTK, in 2012, was the largest fundraiser among all the Penn State organizations with $369,294.04. However, not only did Atlas raise more than the other Penn State orgs last year, they made the largest contribution of all time by any org. Ever.
So, the question remains during this final day of THON 2013: Will Atlas FTK hold on to their title as the most influential org of THON? Will they raise even more money this year?
It seems to be well within reach; especially since Atlas has grown and reached some astounding goals in recent years.
Junior member Alaina Harvey explained that Atlas had broken the record for most money raised in one weekend after their second canning weekend in the fall. Breaking the old record of $119,000 (previously set by Atlas FTK on their first canning trip of 2012), the canners managed to raise over $144,000.
In addition to their fundraising achievements in 2012, Atlas FTK also received a third THON family to add to their organization.
“The new family is just wonderful. They have three little girls; they’re so outgoing and just unlike any other family. I mean last night we took them on stage and one of their girls just says ‘hand me the microphone.’ They were like rapping to Nicki Minaj and all that,” said Harvey.
In THON 2013, a total of 10 dancers on the floor are repping Atlas FTK. And although the brave group may seem overwhelmed through the long early mornings and the aches of constant standing, never mind journeying alone–Atlas has maintained a full section through every hour in support.
So what exactly is it that makes Atlas the strongest, most successful org?
When asked what they loved most, Atlas members of all classes and experience levels agreed that it was “the variety of the bunch.”
“Everyone’s different and we’re just a bunch of strange people and somehow it just works,” said Atlas senior Kim Odenthal.
“Everyone’s down for these weird shenanigans. We told everyone to bring costumes to the meeting for a ‘specific reason,’ and they do it. And then we make a Harlem Shake video. Everyone’s in it for the weirdness,” Harvey added.
Atlas seems to have truly discovered the definition of teamwork. While eyeing and talking with the section, I noted that Atlas members ranged from freshman to seniors, from Afro kid (yep, he’s in there too) to varsity athletes, from serious THON vets to first-timers — all sporting the pink fuzzy hat.
So if you’re out there and you’re like me, lost in the huge Penn State tradition that is THON and looking for a home, consider joining this fantastic org. It’s an opportunity to meet new people, a ton of new people — new people that will be just like you and completely different from you, but the goal is the same and the success is shared. This bunch will gladly welcome newcomers and you’ll get something back too: what Atlas has to offer its members and its community is truly incredible.