Springfielders, What Is Your Profession?
“AWOO! AWOO! AWOO!” all of independent THON organization Springfield’s members shout in response to Joe Giordano’s question. This has become the battle-cry of the organization, which has adopted a Spartan mascot of sorts.
It’s a fitting shout, borrowed from the movie 300 and applied, somewhat fittingly, to an org that prides itself on being small enough to keep its family-esque bonds among members strong. You could say the org’s president, Meg Barnett, is a follower of the mantra “less is more.”
At about 150 members, Springfield is not only small enough to feel like a tight-knit family, but fosters exceptionally strong connections between its members and its sponsored families.
“We’re not interested in numbers,” Barnett said. “A lot of what we do is built on the strong bonds of a small team.”
Each Springfield member also usually becomes very close with one or two of the three families.
“This year we have three families who have all been through different stages of cancer,” Barnett added. “The fact that they’re all in different stages of dealing with it makes it easy to relate to them.”
While the org still strives to maintain its small, family feel, it has also begun to grow rapidly. In a way, its growth is reminiscent of the growth of another Springfield: the cast of characters in The Simpsons.
Not many people know that the original founders of the org took the name from the hometown of that quirky, cartoon family. It came to them because they had a painting of Simpsons’ scenes on the walls of their dorm floor. And just like the cast of the show grew a great deal over the years, so too is Springfield THON growing.
“It’s interesting. We weren’t looking to create a big organization but now it’s grown a lot,” Barnett said. “The Simpsons reference represents how we keep growing, but we want to keep that small, close feeling.”
That close feeling shows when they make references to that other pop culture phenomenon they have adopted, such as the augmented cheer of “THIS IS SPRINGFIELD!”