Meet the THON 2014 Directors: Janine Patton, Rules and Regulations
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 Rules and Regulations Director Janine Patton.
Janine Patton, Rules and Regulations Director
Year: 5th Year Senior
Major/Minor: Human Development and Family Studies
Fun Fact: I invented live emojis.
Onward State: Why did you apply to be a part of the Executive Committee for THON 2014?
Janine Patton: My reasons for getting involved change and expand every year as I get older and through my involvement. It kind of gets me involved in other things that follow the same trend. I had two experiences in my time volunteering at children’s hospitals over summers, and those really inspired me to come back year after year with my involvement in THON and just want to do more from the relationships that I made, and I think that really pushed me through my second year as a captain. I knew that I was going to have to be here for another year, so having been very involved in Rules and Regulations as a captain for two years, it kind of just seemed like I would hate myself if I did anything else.
OS: Summarize some of the responsibilities of the Rules and Regulations Committee, and then the role you play as Director within those responsibilities.
JP: One of the cool things about Rules and Regulations is that our role, as simple as it is, expands throughout the entire year including THON weekend. We’re involved in the safety and security of pretty much everyone involved in THON, but especially the families and the volunteers.
One of our big things is that we are the protectors of the integrity of THON, so 15,000 student volunteers plus so many other supporters. It’s really important to make sure that we do protect our integrity. We also serve as a resource for organizations to make sure that they can volunteer and be involved in THON in the safest way possible.
As Director, over the summer it was a lot of laying the groundwork for things we wanted to see throughout the year. So with the new THINK ahead that was recently launched, I was working with Technology to create protocol for canvassing trips, canning weekends, redoing the registration process for that, and just updating some other general things to make it more efficient for THON chairs and volunteers to use. In addition to that, I’ll be responsible for making sure that canning weekends go as smoothly as possible, all of the fundraising workshops leading up to the canning weekends, making sure all of that material is done.
One of my biggest roles throughout the year is just being a resource for my captains; a lot of the projects that I want to see come to fruition will be through their hard work, so I’m there to answer questions, help them stay on the right path, and just really be a supporter for them.
OS: What are your overall goals for this year? What are you looking to change and improve to make the Rules and Regulations Committee the best it can be?
JP: I definitely want to see us continue to be more of a resource. I think in the past couple of years Rules and Regulations has done a good job of making our reputation more positive in the THON community, and I really want to see that continue. That’s something I stress a lot with our captains, being better communicators and helping organizations be more efficient in what they do and safer about it and more aware of what THON looks for in volunteers and what we expect of our volunteers. So just making sure that Rules and Regulations is there and a presence without being overly forceful. Communication is definitely key, but communication in the right way on top of that.
OS: What moment or moments are you most looking forward to in this upcoming THON year? Be as specific or vague as you’d like.
JP: I’m really, really excited for Harvest Day. One of the THON children that I got to know and got to spend a pretty good amount of time with throughout the past year is definitely going to be there, so I’m really looking forward to seeing him and his family. And just the things that I’ve heard about Harvest Day are awesome, so I’m so excited for that day. I think it’s just one of the little things throughout the year that kind of put you back in the mindset of where you need to be. I also think this year is really cool because I think a lot of the things that we’re doing lay the groundwork for the future of THON, not just for THON 2014, so I’m really excited to see a lot of those things come to fruition.
OS: Why do you THON?
JP: I know of a case of a child that I got to know pretty well and she was an infant when she was diagnosed with cancer and spent her entire life in the hospital and died when she was just over a year old. That really really struck a cord with me as I’m sure it would anyone. Watching someone go through that who hasn’t even been old enough to speak or to understand what people are saying to her, and for her to pretty much experience her whole life like that, is just unimaginable to me. And for a family to have to experience that is unimaginable.
And on a bigger scale, that’s what all of the families that we work every single day for are experiencing. Pretty much our worst nightmare is their reality, as is a phrase that we use a lot. I think I kind of always go back to the quote that Kirsten [Quisenberry, former PR Director] said that was “Cancer doesn’t stop, so we don’t stop.” And I just don’t think that there’s ever a reason to not THON.
OS: Name an event or two that you think will make this year’s line dance.
JP: I think the HUB renovations.
OS: If you could be any dinosaur, which would you be and why?
JP: Stegosaurus for sure. That one’s always been my favorite. When I was little, at whatever age you learn about dinosaurs, I remember there were cool things about the stegosaurus because it was like two sided where it was enough to be powerful and protect itself but not an overbearing presence in the dinosaur community. I don’t know if that’s 100% correct, but I just remember it’s got the ability to protect itself because it has the things on its back, but no one’s like “Oh my gosh I’m so afraid of the stegosaurus.”