The dancers officially stand in less than four hours and THON kicked off the event with its pre-THON press conference, featuring Executive Director Austin Sommerer, Public Relations Director Sam Sherlock, Four Diamonds Founder Charles Millard, and Four Diamonds Director Suzanne Graney. This year is THON’s 40-year anniversary of its partnership with Four Diamonds.
“I don’t know how it’s changed; it’s just continued,” Millard said of the partnership between THON and Four Diamonds. “We’ve had a good relationship — 40 years — and no end in sight as far as I can tell.”
Graney said the partnership between THON and Four Diamonds is unique because it respects the strengths that come from each side in working together. She added the partnership has grown deeper over the years.
“Until we came up here and got involved with THON, we were struggling,” Millard said, “and I always feel that THON breathed life into the whole thing.”
This year’s THON differs from previous years because THON is “making strides in expanding [its]reach even more so beyond Pennsylvania,” Sherlock said. “In a lot of ways, THON’s mission remains the same every year and that’s what’s so beautiful about it.”
Another change for this year is THON will require those entering the building to go through metal detectors. “The BJC had access to the metal detectors so they just suggested we use them for our event,” she said. “Of course it’s just a way to increase security for our event, so we are implementing them this year. The Rules & Regulations Committee has really worked through that process so we’re not expecting there to be too much change in entering the building.”
The original 708 dancers registered for THON 2017 is now reported at 703 dancers planning to participate. Sherlock emphasized THON isn’t involved in deciding which organizations are in good standing. Instead, the university determines this, and THON does not allow any organizations not in good standing to participate in THON fundraising or THON weekend. This is what happened with Beta Theta Pi’s dancers earlier this week.