This weekend I participated in THON through the Rules & Regulations Committee. I transferred to Penn State as a freshman last spring from the University of Maryland, so I missed the opportunity to join a committee. THON 2011 was an experience I will never forget.
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We covered THON 2011 around-the-clock through our THONward State special edition this past weekend. Our liveblog, livetweets, and other posts in aggregate this year marked an unprecedented amount of THON coverage for Onward State and it was our pleasure to bring it to you. We’ve compiled everything we’ve published about THON 2011 into a single post. Check out what you missed after the jump.
Just wanted to publish another great media suite from the Daily Collegian. This trio of videos was produced by Beth Ann Downey, a sister of my sister in Delta Gamma (shout out!). They profile Robbie Sheil, who has gone from cancer to dancer. Check them out after the jump.
The University of California, Los Angeles held its 9th annual dance marathon over the weekend. Student groups danced for a whopping 26 hours straight to raise money for pediatric AIDS victims. Something seems a little fishy. It’s almost like I’ve heard of this idea before. Is this just a THON copy cat? Should we Twitter-bitch about it being a “total rip-off” of Penn State’s impressive philanthropy? Or should we jump down from our high horse and see this as an indicator of THON’s overwhelming success? Let this be a lesson in bragging etiquette.
I sat at home Friday afternoon before heading to the Bryce Jordan Center thinking about what I would experience for the next two days. I knew it would be something I never forgot, something that I would take with me for the rest of my life, no matter how old I got. When I returned to my couch on Sunday evening, I realized that I didn’t dream big enough.
Penn State shattered its previous THON fundraising record this afternoon when the 2011 Overall Committee flipped over its now iconic white placards to reveal that this 2011 total was $9,563,016.09– an increase of more than $1.7 million over 2010. Tomorrow there will be time to look back at the weekend and remember the memories created over 46-hours this February in the Bryce Jordan Center. For now though, revel in this: your university’s better than any other when it comes to what masters most.
The final 16 or so hours of THON are probably the biggest emotional roller coaster you will ever go on.
You start off with the thrills of the pep rally, the tears and laughs of dancer mail, the long overnight where anything could happen and Family Hour which occurs in the 43rd hour.
Your brain doesn’t know how to process this at times, something I now know from experience.
The 46 hours of THON Weekend mean many things to many people. But to 7-year-old Justin Burns, it’s a chance to hang out with the big kids. I got a chance to speak with Justin and his mother Maria Sunday morning as the final hours approached. I found out his favorite THON activities, hobbies and how he spent his weekend in State College. The Burns are a Four Diamond Family from Avoca, PA and Justin is Glee Club/Oriana’s (GC/O) Four Diamonds Child. Justin and his mother traveled to State College Friday for their second THON. Read on for more about their weekend at THON.
At this point, it is beyond cliched to say that THON unites all of Penn State behind a common cause–the fight towards the eradication of childhood cancer. But for some involved with THON, the charity and the event take on a greater meaning. Count dancer Eric Clair amongst those who have a personal connection with pediatric cancer. “When he was 9 months old, Eric was diagnosed with cancer,” his mother, Cindy, explains.
The physical tolls of THON can be challenging–Penn State’s Dance Marathon wouldn’t be so special if it weren’t for the rigor of staying awake and on your feet for 46 hours. But while foot massages and piggyback rides can help alleviate some of the physical stresses, it’s sometimes even tougher to stave off the mental monotony of nearly 2 days on the Bryce Jordan Center floor. That’s where Color Wars come in.
I don’t know about you, but there are a few songs that I and the rest of the Onward State staff are sick of hearing on repeat. We’re looking at you, Katy Perry, Backstreet Boys and Lady Gaga. So we’ve got some suggestions for DJ Larry Moore to add to next year’s playlist. Check out our suggestions after the break.
Those present in the Bryce Jordan Center in the dark, early hours of Saturday morning (between approximately 4 and 7 a.m.) may have looked on in wonder at the young man featured on the big screens pulling some seriously rad dance moves. Heck, if you saw him you might have even been one of the many people trying to mimic him.
We at Onward State had the opportunity to talk to Mike “Wiley” Barnes Saturday night. Wiley is an initiate of Alpha Kappa Psi and was at the BJC to support the fraternity’s dancers. And he has decided to support them, as well as the rest of the 708 dancers, by doing a little dancing of his own.
“Since the people dancing for THON have to be here for 46 hours, I’m going to be here as much as I can and I’ll dance 10 times as hard,” Wiley said of his inspiration for giving his all in the stands. He added that he was, in fact, the very first person in line before the doors opened for THON 2011.
Social media has been instrumental in spreading the message of THON, and not just during the one weekend a year that celebrates the culmination of 365 days of preparation. How often does it seem that a celebrity is bringing to light the great cause that is Penn State’s Dance Marathon, highlighting our accomplishment as the nation’s largest student-run philanthropy? Hell, at this point, her continued advocacy of THON is probably Khloe Kardashian’s lone redeeming asset.
While Onward State was dodging bouncy balls down on the floor and scoping out the scene, we came across dancer Ian Hochberger from York, Pennsylvania and asked him a few questions. Ian is the THON child for Alpha Omicron Pi and Sigma Chi and he is dancing this year!
Read on past the break for a full interview.
The line dance is one of the most memorable parts of THON, something that from year to year dancers and spectators alike carry with them in their memories of THON. The finished product usually takes runs about five minutes long, and takes the better part of an hour to teach to the dancers, but the creation process takes months.
Line Dance Coordinator Jaci Mayer explains what goes into making one of THON’s most beloved traditions.
During an excursion onto the dance floor in the 17th hour, Onward State met up with dancer and CCSG President Mohamed Raouda for a brief interview.
Mo is dancing for Lion’s Paw, and between training for THON, presiding over CCSG, and completing his schoolwork, he’s had a very busy few weeks. This is what he had to say about his experience so far.
We at Onward State are perplexed. Famous late-night host and SNL alum Jimmy Fallon, who has apparently been following @THON on his Twitter account, requested late last night that DJ Larry Moore play either a Roots song or his own “Idiot Boyfriend.” If one of these songs was played, he promised a donation of $1,000. Now his THON tweets have all been deleted.
More than 6 hours ago, the doors to the Bryce Jordan Center opened and thousands of Penn State students rushed in to support their friends who would soon be taking the dance floor. Check out OnwardState’s exclusive video of students streaming into the BJC.
Spirits were high when THON’s 2011 line dance was revealed, and the screams of the crowd almost lifted the roof off of the Bryce Jordan Center. We hit the floor to hear first hand what the dancers and committee members thought.
Check out their reactions and photos of their favorite poses after the jump.