THON is always growing and developing each and every aspect as the years go on, including each of its organizations. For this coming year, the Special Interest Organizations—organizations created primarily for the purpose of supporting THON—will have a brand new executive board bringing them together known as the Special Interest Association.
The SIA came together over the past few months with the intent to “improve the structure and consistency of Special Interest Organizations … through increased inter-organization communication, planned events for the Special Interest community, and improved resources that will allow organizations to operate and transition more efficiently.”
With this mission statement, the association will host roundtables for chairs with their respective liaison in the SIA. The intention is that these will be an asset to improving their communication and having them all learn collectively.
The SIA will plan events for Special Interest Organization members to thank them for working all year while providing more fun things to do with organizations at the same time. It would also like to expand its horizons from just THON events to take advantage of all the experiences and opportunities Penn State as a whole has to offer.
Another resource the association hopes to provide is its very own HUB office space. With this, the SIA can allow Special Interest Organization members to sign up for events and fundraisers, and pay for merchandise ordered through their organizations.
The executive board is comprised of 11 individuals who have all been leaders of their respective Special Interest Organization.
Previous executive chairs of multiple Special Interest Organizations came together to establish the association. Since Special Interest Organizations are becoming more prominent in the THON community each year, these past executive chairs found it beneficial to create a united front to support this growth.
They were inspired to also create a support system of student volunteers directly from these organizations for students starting their new organization to use as a resource. At times, students starting clubs from scratch have trouble figuring out where to start. The SIA looks to be a guiding force for these students, and for younger Special Interest Organizations who could use a little help.
Mainly, the SIA wants to act as a resource for these organizations that need help with things that THON as a whole may not cover. This stems from the fact that there are many things that go into running a successful organization, and they find it important to focus on them in hopes that the attention will be reflected by their fundraising totals.
The SIA’s president, Clara Etter, said that while they’ll work on strengthening ties within THON, they would also look to become a larger presence in Penn State’s community as a whole.
“From things like being more involved in Homecoming to participating in other philanthropic causes to potentially working alongside Greek Life on various projects, the SIA and Special Interest Organizations will work as a team to become true Penn State organizations,” said Etter, who served as one of Atlas’s Family Relations Chairs for THON 2014.
If you’re interested in learning more about the SIA, or would like to register your Special Interest Organization, contact Clara Etter at firstname.lastname@example.org.