22 short days separate Penn State’s dedicated THON community from its biggest weekend of the year. As always, the 15,000 volunteers are hard at work, eagerly anticipating their annual life-changing marathon. This week, we revisited traditional THON topics like dancer mail, while also starting a conversation with past dancers. Next, we’re back to our old standard – the 2016 Executive Committee’s weekly feature.
Last Thursday, we talked with DAR Development Director Katie Kavanaugh. Our conversation continues with Katie’s companion, Paige Schank, the newly-established DAR Alumni Engagement Director for THON 2016.
Paige Schank, Donor & Alumni Relations (DAR), Alumni Engagement
Major: Supply Chain and Information Systems
Minor: Management Information Systems
Past THON Experience: 2014 Donor & Alumni Relations Committee Member, 2015 Donor & Alumni Relations Captain
Name an interesting, weird, or quirky fact about you: I really don’t like it when people walk across the university seal that’s on the floor in the new addition of the HUB.
Onward State: What made you want to apply for the DAR Alumni Engagement Director position for THON 2016?
Paige Schank: On a daily basis, I’m inspired by the Penn State community and its commitment to conquer childhood cancer. Together, as a student body, we are limitless. I wanted to continue to work with the inspiring 15,000 like-minded, selfless student volunteers who give so much for this fight.
OS: What are your responsibilities as the Alumni Engagement Director within the Donor & Alumni Relations committee?
PS: It’s my responsibility to educate the Penn State alumni community about fundraising opportunities and awareness campaigns to empower them to further THON’s mission. I work to foster relationships with THON’s new, long-standing, and future alumni as they support Penn State students, the university, and the THON community.
OS: What do you want to implement in your position this year that’s unique and differs from years past?
PS: It’s this committee’s first year in existence, so I am really focused on laying the groundwork for future years.
OS: What do you think makes DAR Alumni Engagement so cool, fun, and/or important?
PS: Alumni Engagement Captains and DAR Committee members have the unique opportunity to interact with one of THON’s strongest stakeholders – Penn State graduates. It’s so inspiring to hear the stories of alumni who danced in the White Building or of a parent who’s son or daughter is now involved.
OS: What are the overall goals you wish to reach within your position and committee for THON 2016
PS: THON has the power to shape what it means to be a Penn State alumnus or alumna. As a new committee, it’s my goal to lay the foundation for future Alumni Engagement committees to educate all graduates about THON’s mission, so that they can join us in the fight.
OS: Why do you THON, Paige?
PS: I THON so that one day, we will dance in celebration. I THON for the families who fight everyday. I THON for friends and those close to me who have been impacted by this disease, and I THON so that one day we will live in a world without cancer.
OS: Can you tell us about your favorite THON memory?
PS: It’s impossible to pinpoint one of the countless, incredible moments I’ve had during my time as a THON volunteer. I’ve loved the times I was able to spend with my committee, and I’m looking forward to the memories that are ahead for THON 2016.
OS: Finally, an Onward State tradition. If you could be any dinosaur, which one would you be and why?
PS: Triceratops – they’ve always been my favorite.