THON Overall Series: Kinjal Mathur, Entertainment
As a part of Onward State’s commitment to help establish more immediate access to THON to the Penn State community, of which it is such a huge part, I have conducted a series of interviews with the each of the 2011-2012 overalls. These are the students who have taken the initiative to lead this organization, so may we all take a moment to learn from their words and help implement their ideas into our continued fight against pediatric cancer. May we always “Brighten Every Journey.”
Onward State: Summarize some of the responsibilities of the Entertainment Committee, and then the role you play as the Overall within those responsibilities.
Kinjal Mathur: Entertainment, as you can imagine, for THON Weekend is basically the entire stage. Anything that is happening on the stage, whether it be a band, a local entertainment act, or anything with Larry Moore, goes through Entertainment. All the videos you see, all the PowerPoints you look at, we check over everything. We create a lot of them and make sure everything is FTK appropriate, as concise to the point so that people can understand it and appreciate it.
Throughout the year, we also make all the videos that THON is known for. The big thing we want to do is spread awareness of THON, pediatric cancer, the Children’s Hospital, and the Four Diamonds Fund. But a lot of it is planning and making sure everything is perfect for THON Weekend for the stuff that goes on the stage.
My job as the Overall is to make sure everyone is doing their job. Meeting regularly with pep rally and local bands, and I also meet with Larry Moore. I’m his main contact from THON, so we work together a lot. He has a wealth of knowledge that he can pass down to me, and from overall to overall, to tell what things worked and what things didn’t work, and we can take that and try to improve THON. Along with that, I also work with Scott Lukas at the BJC. He’s the production manager there, and so we work on different ways we can improve the entire BJC during THON, whether it be the curtains in the background, or little things like the lights, or having smoke come out when Go Go Gadjet plays. We see what’s feasible, and what the kids would like, and what the crowd would like.
OS: What made you want to take on the position of Overall of the Entertainment Committee?
KM: I was an Entertainment Captain last year, and it was my first time doing anything with Entertainment. I came in completely blind, and no idea what my job was, or what Entertainment’s job was, but I fell in love with what the committee does in general. I was a liaison last year, and so I was able to work with different committees, and it was awesome to see how much every committee works together for just one event. Sure, you could say the Pep Rally goes back to Entertainment, but the amount that Morale, OPP, R&R, PR, and ENT work together to make it a success is awesome. I think it’s amazing how so many pieces come together, and no committee could exist without the other. I wanted to learn more about that, and try to take my ideas and use them with other committees to try to make everyone’s experience better.
I also wanted to give my captains the same experience that I had last year. I felt like I was blessed with such an awesome opportunity. To grow as a leader, and to and to make a huge difference in the life of a child and the family, and it’s something that I will never find anywhere else.
OS: What are you looking to change/do differently this year with the Entertainment Committee to help improve it?
KM: A new thing this year is our DJ Captains. We pride ourselves in being a student-run philanthropy, and the fact that we have students that have the talent to DJ is awesome. Having the DJ Captains to run some of our internal events like our orientations is, I think, going to be really fun for our volunteers to see their peers DJ-ing.
Another thing that I know all of us want to do is really spread awareness. I’m hoping with the videos that we produce this year, we can touch more on the fact that THON is a year-round, and we do THON 365 days a year, just like how the kids have to through everything all year. Even as a committee member and last year as a captain, I didn’t really know anything about THON, the Four Diamonds Fund, what goes on in Hershey, or cancer in general. I think the videos we are going to make this year are going to highlight some of those things, and I think that everyone, whether they are within THON, or just wanting to learn about THON, is going to learn a lot more about everything that goes on. And hopefully they will join us in the fight.
OS: What moment or moments are you most looking forward to during this upcoming THON year? Be as specific or vague as you want.
KM: I’m personally excited for the Harvest Day Picnic that we have with the families. We have been able to meet some of the families, and it has been so much fun. I’m just really, really excited to have a relationship with some of the families and kids.
Along with that, I was really excited to pick my captains. Like I said, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to be an overall, so that night, telling them they got a captain position was absolutely phenomenal.
I don’t want this to come any time soon, but I’m also looking forward to the end of the year, when everyone in THON can look back and see how much work they did, and how awesome the year was.
OS: Why do you THON?
KM: I first got involved with THON because someone told me to sign up for a committee. I had no grasp of how amazing THON was until during THON Weekend. It was then that I realized that we provide the families a chance to just be a family again and not have to worry about their difficult journey. Kids could be kids, parents could be parents and we were able to all become a family fighting for the same thing. To sum it up I THON for the relationships that are formed. Not only the long-lasting relationships between THON volunteers, not only for the relationship that THON, The Four Diamonds Fund and Hershey Children’s Hospital have but for the special relationship we have with each family. Though we hope to brighten the journeys of the families they also brighten ours.
OS: Name an event or two that you think will make this year’s Line Dance.
KM: It’s funny because all throughout the summer when things would happen, we would say they have it easy this year. I think what happened after the night that we found out the Osama Bin Laden died; that was a big night. Not the fact that someone was killed, but the celebration of Penn State and the country. The NFL lockout; people were freaking out. That might be a good one. Hopefully if Penn State does something well in sports we can throw that in there too.
OS: Finally, if you could be any dinosaur, which one would you be, and why?
KM: I would be a triceratops because of Power Rangers. Triceratops was one of the dinosaurs in Power Rangers, I’m pretty sure, and I’m pretty sure it was the blue ranger, and my favorite color is blue.
OS: I think you just incepted me.
KM: I was a big fan. It’s a throwback to the good ol’ days of Saturday morning Power Rangers.
For more information on THON 2011-2012, make sure to check out the installments of the Overall Series: Finance, OPPerations, Merchandise, Hospitality, Morale, Technology, Donor & Alumni Relations, Rules & Regulations, Public Relations, Communications, Supply Logistics, & Special Events, as well as my 10 questions with THON Overall Elaine Tanella. Also, catch up on the rest of the recent THON content: Social Media Pledges Raise Thousands, THON on the TODAY Show, Get Fit for THON Weekend, Color Wars Kick Off, How-To Dancer Mail, 2012 Dancer List, THON Announces Canning Workshops, Mr. & Mrs. THON, Johnson & Johnson Dedicated to THON, THON 2012 Theme, FT5K 2011, THON 2012 Theme, Overall Life Lessons, 2011 Summary of Fundraising Activities, Canning Map Weekend #1, Canning “Do”s & “Don’t”s, New to THON, Canning Weekend #2 Tips, Go Green FTK.