Meet the THON 2014 Directors: Tom Bremer, Merchandise Director
With THON season in full swing, we conducted a series of interviews with each member of the THON 2014 Executive Committee in order to better connect the Penn State community with the leaders of the largest student run philanthropy in the world. This week features Merchandise Director Tom Bremer.
Tom Bremer, Merchandise Director
Major/Minor: Mechanical Engineering
Fun Fact: I’ve gone backpacking in Alaska for a month.
Onward State: Why did you apply to be a part of the Executive Committee for THON 2014?
Tom Bremer: I applied to be a part of the Executive Committee for THON 2014 because I wanted to give more. THON has changed my life in a lot of ways and shaped the way I view the world and people and my purpose here. After being a captain last year, I wasn’t ready to just do that again. I really wanted to give more and devote my senior year to a great cause.
OS: Summarize the some of the responsibilities of the Merchandise Committee, as well as the role you play as Director within those responsibilities.
TB: The responsibilities of the Merchandise committee include operating the online store. We’re revamping it and we’re excited to roll out a brand new site in the next couple of weeks. Outside of that, HUB sales and all of that really ties into spreading awareness through the sale of merchandise. Merch is a great way to spread knowledge about THON, so when you ship a cup to Arizona, that mug might end up in an office and start a conversation which could lead to a potential donor. Spreading the awareness that way is a big responsibility of Merchandise. My role as director is facilitating my 21 captains and fulfilling their roles as well as coordinating all of the orders with our vendors so that we have things to sell, we have enough that we can ship out, and then getting ready for THON weekend and preparing all of the clothes and items for that. Licensing is also another big part, protecting THON’s name and the image of THON.
OS: What are your overall goals for this year? What are you looking to change and improve to make the Merchandise Committee the best it can be?
TB: It’s kind of exciting to be on Merch, because we’re getting a brand new site, and in the spring of 2015 we’re getting a physical store. So a lot of this year is going to be about kind of setting the groundwork for that; working with the Penn State administration on the backhand side of the THON store, kind of integrating our accounts with the ASA and getting ready for how we’re actually going to staff the THON store. Who has access, who needs access, what do we need to do between now and then, what inventory systems do we need to get from the HUB, what kind of resources do we need from them. A lot of this year is going to be figuring that out and not so much focusing on the HUB sales as much because ultimately they might not be in existence when we have a physical store that you can go in at any time, so it’s really just going to change drastically and it’s paving the way for the 2015 Merchandise Director. While I may not be able to see anything, I do this year or some of the things I do this year, it’s getting ready for them so they have a smooth transition right into an actual store.
OS: What moment or moments are you most looking forward to during this upcoming THON year? Be as specific or vague as you’d like.
TB: Definitely the logo reveal. As the Merchandise Director, it’s something that I have a big stake in, and I’m really excited to work with the graphic design class and pick the different shirt colors and see how everyone reacts to the brand new logo for the theme. Merchandise as a committee selects the logo from the pool that we get from the graphic design class.
OS: Why do you THON?
TB: This is a question that I almost feel like I have a different answer every time I’m answering, because there are so many different reasons. Coming in as a freshman, I applied on a whim. I didn’t really know a lot about THON and I hadn’t been personally affected. Then just being there and seeing the kids and families, I knew right then and there that it was something that I had to be a part of for the remainder of my time in college. That’s kind of why I THON. Then this past summer my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it kind of hit a lot closer to home and really redefined my purpose with THON and solidified that I was doing the right thing.
OS: Name an event or two that you think will make this year’s line dance?
TB: Maybe when we beat Michigan. (*Note: The interview was conducted before the Michigan game. Tom knows all.)
OS: If you could be any dinosaur, which would you be and why?
TB: I would be a pterodactyl so I could fly. I’m really into flying.