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THON 2011: New Rules, New Game

“THON is a philanthropic event, not a competition, and all money raised is for the aid of the children and their families.” This is a line from the recently released THON 2011 Rulebook, which, with its new rules, clearly makes sure you know that THON is not about the points or winning. Everything should be done FTK, and to assure this, you will notice these major changes as the THON season starts.

  1. All organizations must be recognized by the University. Jony Rommel, THON Overall Public Relations Chairperson, explains that “[THON] wanted all organizations to be held to the same standards. This will also ensure that all participating organizations have a definitive purpose and that they are a sustainable entity.” Sustainability is an important factor when assigning Four Diamonds Families.
  2. Student organizations have been divided into two and given new titles: General and Special Interest. “General organizations” are those “who hold membership in an organization recognized by the Office of Student Activities” (e.g. Club Swimming). “Special Interest organizations” are those “who hold membership in an organization recognized by the Office of Student Activities and with the sole purpose of supporting Penn State Dance Marathon” (e.g. Atlas THON).
  3. In years past, organizations were given “Spirit Points” for participation in pre-THON events. The top earners of these points were given bonuses like $2000 accredited to their org’s THON total. This year, the Spirit Point system has been given the axe. Rommel defends the Overall Committee’s decision, stating, “[The Spirit Points system] has lost popularity and students show so much dedication towards THON that we have continued to see increasing numbers at all pre-THON events.”
  4. Last year, the top 10 money raisers in the Student orgs and Greek orgs and top three in the Commonwealth Campuses were recognized. This year,  only the top five earners in the General orgs, Greek orgs, Special Interest orgs, and Commonwealth Campus categories will be recognized at the end of THON weekend. A change, as Rommel puts, “To give fair recognition to all student groups involved.”

The THON 2011 rules clearly take the emphasis off of the competition aspect of THON. Some think this could negatively affect THON’s total, as argued in the comments of a recent Community post. Rommel wholeheartedly disagrees with this argument, arguing, “Students become involved with THON because they are passionate about helping others and are invested in our mission of conquering pediatric cancer.”

What are your thoughts on the new rules?

About the Author

Abby Zwillinger

I’m a Junior majoring in Labor Studies and Employment Relations. I have lived on Long Island my entire life, and think NYC is the greatest place in the world. Life is too short, so if you want a cupcake, have a cupcake.


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Tom Beeby will serve as the 2019 Class Gift Executive Director.

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