Recap of Sunday’s THON Meeting
In an effort to discuss the issues raised recently about the THON Overall Committee’s decision making process, Interfraternity Council President Max Wendkos invited student leaders within THON to meet for a discussion forum last night.
Four members of the Overall Committee were present to discuss their perspective on current hot topics within the THON community: Kirsten Kelly, THON 2011 Overall Chairperson, Jony Rommell, THON 2011 Overall Public Relations Chairperson, Elaine Tanella, THON 2011 Overall Communications Chairperson, and Griffin Weiler, THON 2011 Overall Morale Chairperson. In addition to Wendkos, the event was coordinated by Panhellenic Council President Sara Linkosky.
A variety of students attended the meeting including representatives from a number of fundraising organizations within THON: big orgs, small orgs, Greek orgs, independent orgs, etc., as well as members of the IFC and Panhellenic Councils, the Homecoming Executive Committee, UPUA, and even past THON Captains.
The theme that rang constant throughout the entire two hour meeting was competition between the organizations. It sounded a little something like this: “We’re not eliminating competition” “Why is competition bad?” “Why do you need competition to raise money for the kids?” “we’re not eliminating competition” “Why is competition bad?” and so on.
The Overalls’ best response to the question of competition’s presence in the world of THON was that organizations have never known their standings in the fundraising rankings leading up to the last four hours of THON weekend. It is only after the top organization totals are announced once all of the dancers are invited to sit that orgs can finally begin to compare themselves to each other. Therefore, deciding not to release org fundraising totals post THON weekend does not affect the efforts to fundraise leading up to THON in any way.
Among the redundant outcries, a few good points were made which both questioned and supported those leading the discussion. One voice from the audience pointed out a lack of mutual respect that exists between the Overalls and the other 1,500 volunteers of THON.
The Overall Committee’s intentions with these recent policy changes are to keep everyone’s focus on the kids and the fight against pediatric cancer, and they point out that every decision is carefully deliberated and made for the kids. The Overalls of this organization are asking its volunteers to assume and believe that everything they do is FTK and in the benefit of the families, yet don’t the students that do the ground work for THON every day deserve this same credit? Don’t the people that spend their days (weekends even) raising money for the kids deserve the benefit of the doubt that they do actually understand the magnitude of each dollar they collect? This particular comment was one of few that generated a round of applause from supporters.
Another point that received quite a bit of attention was the theory of checks and balances not only within THON, but comparatively within other major organizations on campus. Linkosky suggested to the leaders in the audience that they consider alternatives to the way the Overall Committee is selected, comparing it to the process within the Greek community of selecting leaders. An idea of a democratic voting system similar to the one UPUA utilizes was also brought up.
Countering the suggestion of changing the way Overalls are selected were comments about how little people know about the issues members of the Overall Committee deal with throughout their term. It had to be said that the people that are chosen to lead THON are picked for all the right reasons.
One representative from a recently established smaller organization pointed out that all of the attention on competition takes away from development, saying that it creates an environment that does not foster new orgs and allow them to grow.
Overall, members of the audience seemed most concerned with the lack of communication between themselves and the Overall Committee, an issue which was addressed by all four representatives a number of times throughout the night. If you are a THON Chair for your organization for THON 2011 you should be registered as such on the THINK website. In addition to that, all THON Chairs should receive the THON newsletter via email from Communications Overall Chairperson Elaine Tanella. If you have not received these emails from her yet, she asks that you please contact her at [email protected]
After the THON 2011 Captains are selected, each organization will also be assigned a liaison from the Communications committee. These captains are selected to work with organizations to improve their experience with THON in every possible, meaning that they are the primary resource to utilize for providing feedback to the Overalls on the successes of THON as well as what can be improved.
Without an open flow of communication amongst everyone involved in THON, discrepancies will continue to arise with the ‘way things are run’. This meeting was a way for those who are passionate about the cause to get together and discuss topics pertinent to the success of the overall organization. Fundraising for THON 2011 officially opens October 1st, so stay tuned for what other alterations occur before then.
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The university has pledged at least $2 million toward the multidisciplinary center’s establishment, and a fundraising campaign aims to raise $3 million in private support with $3 million in matching funds from Penn State.
Homecoming 2019 is locked in for the first week of October.
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