THON executive directors Katie Mailey and Austin Sommerer released a statement earlier that the organization will phase out canning by THON 2019, but will host limited canning weekends in the meantime.
“We have worked extensively to maintain canning as a part THON’s fundraising model for multiple years now, but in conversations with Penn State Student Affairs and the Office of University Development, the decision to eliminate canning was a difficult, but necessary decision in the best interest of THON and its volunteers moving forward,” Mailey and Sommerer said in the statement.
There will be two canning weekends this fall for THON 2017, the weekends of September 23-25 and October 28-30. There will then only be one canning weekend for THON 2018, which will be scheduled for a September weekend in fall 2017.
As part of the phasing out process, THON announced a number of changes to the canning policies and practice. The organization said it took into all safety concerns into consideration in determining the changes.
“Throughout the conversations surrounding the future of canning, safety of our students while traveling and canning remained a large focus of consideration, as canning has presented a variety of risks for our volunteers as it has evolved.”
In addition to the decreased canning weekends, students will be required to complete a Driver e-Course in addition to the Fundraising Safety e-Course that all canners must take. The driver course will focus on the risks of distracted driving and will educate passengers of their responsibilities.
Another change to canning is that volunteers will no longer be able to stand or fundraise in intersections. THON cited that the most frequent canning accidents occur on medians and when students step into the street to collect donations. Canning will now primarily occur at storefronts to reduce this risk.
THON also announced a plan to offer alternative transportation to volunteers, with routes traveling to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia with a stop in Harrisburg, and New York with a stop in Northern New Jersey. Registration for the the alternate transportation will open when classes start in the fall.
“As always, we continually evaluate all methods of fundraising, measuring various criteria such as effectiveness and efficiency in addition to safety,” the release said. “In addition to these outlined changes, more comprehensive details will be sent to THON volunteers throughout the summer to ensure that all students are well aware of the requirements for fundraising.”