We profiled Eclipse, one of the newest THON special interest organizations, last month. Like many other THON organizations, its primary mission is to raise money to fight pediatric cancer. But Eclipse’s secondary interest is in the treatment of victims of malaria.
The 12 founders started Eclipse in Pennypacker Hall in 2016 as freshmen looking for their purpose at Penn State. Vice President and Onward State photographer Carly Weiss originally joined a different THON organization but didn’t feel very close to the other members in such a large group. The founders decided there was no better way to find their place here than to just create it.
Their organization quickly grew from ten members to about 45, but Eclipse President Colin Heminway knows it’s not about size. “It’s not just how many members you have, it’s how dedicated everyone is – people are really committed.”
Luckily, the organization managed to secure two dancer spots in the lottery. Eclipse’s members are cheering their dancers on from upper deck section 221. Many are experiencing THON for the first time, but Heminway and his executive board are keeping them going to ensure they stay motivated through the entire 46 hours.
“They’re not used to the standing through the aches and pains,” Heminway said. “But that’s what we signed up for.”
Eclipse also managed to raise more than $10,000. The work their members have done has brought them all closer together. “We’re starting to become a family and we’re starting to develop that type of atmosphere that we see in all of these organizations,” Heminway said. “It means so much to not just the founders, but everybody that you can really do whatever you want at this school.”
Moving forward, it’s going to be a learning process for all of Eclipse’s members. Most of them are sophomores and freshmen, with a couple juniors. Every hour of THON is a new experience for most of them. “I don’t think we’re comfortable being stagnant,” Heminway explained. “We want to grow as an organization, but we don’t want to grow excessively large.”
“We want to make more people enjoy Penn State and appreciate Penn State and what it has to offer,” Heminway said. “We have a fear that a lot of people come here and never find their place – we want to be that org that offers that place.”