THON Director Thursday: Meet Rules & Regulations Volunteer Safety Director Andrew Smith

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Name: Andrew Smith

Major: Accounting

Past THON Experience: Rules & Regulations Committee Member for THON 2014 and 2015, Rules & Regulations Volunteer Safety Captain for THON 2016


Name an interesting, weird, or quirky fact about yourself:

When I was 12 years old, I was in a Broadway play for 45 minutes.

What made you want to apply for the R&R Volunteer Safety Director position for THON 2017?

Following the conclusion of THON 2016, I knew I wanted to do more to contribute to THON’s tremendous growth. Applying for a position on the Executive Committee gave me the opportunity to try to implement all of my ideas and contribute to THON’s mission to my fullest potential. I loved my year working as a Volunteer Safety Captain, and I wanted the chance to help my Committee grow while focusing on how we can serve the entire Community.

What are your responsibilities as the R&R Volunteer Safety Director?

As the Volunteer Safety Director, I primarily oversee the majority of the student-led fundraising efforts through canning, canvassing and alternative fundraising. I am also responsible for maintaining and updating the THON 2017 Rulebook and communicating any of our policies to THON Chairs. As the Volunteer Safety Director, I strive to be a resource to all of THON’s supporters in their fundraising efforts and offer help wherever possible. My Captains and I work to approve alternative fundraisers, facilitate distribution of materials for Fundraising Outreach & Canning Weekends, and enforce all of THON’s policies in violation meetings, among much more.

What do you want to implement in your position this year that’s unique and differs from years past?

This year I wanted to put a huge focus on improving the efficiency of the Volunteer Safety Committee and the efficiency of all of THON’s supporters’ fundraising efforts. Through our infrastructure on THINK, we are able to collect a ton of useful information and data from all organizations’ fundraisers. One of my initiatives this year has been figuring out how best to utilize that data to provide more tools and resources for THON Chairs. Every organization fundraises in vastly different ways, and hopefully these tools will allow each organization to make decisions on what is the best type of fundraiser to hold given their resources and members’ skill sets. I also wanted to make it a point to challenge and critically evaluate all of our processes and procedures to make improvements and continue to grow as a Committee.

What makes the R&R Volunteer Safety committee so cool, fun, and/or important?

While Rules & Regulations has existed for years, the Volunteer Safety Committee is only two years old, having expanded with Event Safety in THON 2015. A lot of our practices and policies are consistently developing and there is huge potential for growth. In the same way that the entire THON Community is evolving in its fundraising efforts, the Volunteer Safety Committee is undergoing a lot of the same changes to figure out how we can best serve the entire Community. It’s a very exciting challenge because we’re moving into entirely new areas as a Committee.

What are the overall goals you hope to reach with your committee for THON 2017?

I had three main goals coming into this year. First is to keep the safety of all of our volunteers at the forefront and number one priority of every decision we make. Second is to do everything possible from my position to help improve our fundraising efforts and give THON Chairs all the resources they need. Third is to continue to help the entire Rules & Regulations Committee continue to grow and drastically improve the R&R Committee Member experience.

Why do you THON?

I THON so no child or family has to feel alone in their fight against cancer. These families are dealt an impossible hand and have to deal with the immense burdens of this disease. Every day, they face new obstacles and challenges, but still manage to persevere despite it all. I have seen how we as a community can help to lift some of those burdens, help them in overcoming those obstacles, and support them in their fight.

What’s your favorite THON memory?

Last year during THON Weekend, R&R received an unusual call over our radio. Family Relations Captains were requesting help staffing the Kids Variety show and would need a few extra Captains to help. I volunteered to help and headed down to the South Annex. I would be escorting families and working security for the stage during the event. This was the first year I have been able to see the Kids Variety show in its entirety, and it immediately stands out as my favorite memory and my favorite stage event for THON Weekend. I love the Kids Variety show because for those few minutes that the kids are on stage, they get to be rock stars. They get to sing or perform whatever they want, and the crowd goes absolutely nuts when they’re done. And if anyone was too shy to sing, the entire crowd would join in singing to help them along. I think it’s those moments that show just how amazing the entire THON Community is. Every single spectator in the BJC is uniting to support those kids, and it is awesome to see.

Per Onward State tradition, if you could be any dinosaur, which one would you be and why?

Ankylosaurus, I don’t really have a reason, they just look cool.

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About Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa is a junior public relations major and the managing editor of Onward State. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Send questions and comments via e-mail ([email protected]) and follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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