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Who to Know: THON 2012

THON weekend is just a day away! With so little time until THON kicks off, we at Onward State figured we should let you know who you should be familiar with if you head over to the Bryce Jordan Center this weekend to show your support FTK.

Charles Millard – Founder of the Four Diamonds Fund

Charles and his wife Irma established the Four Diamonds Fund in 1972 after the loss of their son Chris to pediatric cancer. The Four Diamonds Fund provides medical care and financial and emotional support, and helps fund pediatric cancer research. Children being treated at Penn State Hershey are eligible to become Four Diamonds children, and THON is one of the fund’s key contributors.

Larry Moore – THON DJ

Larry Moore is a Penn State grad and a former dancer in THON. He and his staff at Larry Moore Productions will be standing and dancing along with the dancers and moralers for all 46 hours. He’ll crank out THON favorites such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Angels Among Us,” and plenty of other tracks to keep everyone on their feet all weekend.

Barry Bram – THON adviser and Senior Associate Director of Union and Student Activities in Student Affairs

Read Onward State’s profile of Barry from last year to learn about all he does for THON.

Tucker Haas – THON child and one-man Black Eyed Peas Cover Band

It was two years ago that the world was introduced to Tucker Haas. When he took the stage like so many other Four Diamonds children during THON’s “Talent Show” portion, few would’ve expected that what would come next would be a rollicking rendition of the Black Eyed Peas “Boom Boom Pow,”–one that not only got the BJC fired up, but took the internet by storm, too. He even showed up on Fox News a couple months later. Sure enough, Tucker returned to reclaim his throne last year, and, with the help of his sister Taylor, covered “The Time.” For his efforts, Tucker found himself trending nationally on Twitter moments later. One can only wonder what he’ll do next, but everyone in the Jordan Center will be waiting for it with baited breath.

The THON Overall Committee:

Elaine Tanella – Overall Chairperson

Elaine, a senior bioengineering major, is this year’s THON Overall Chairperson. In her interview earlier this year with our lovely THON editor Ryan Kristobak, Elaine described her goals to make this year’s event even better than in the past:

“I want to do more for the kids, for the families, for the students, and for The Four Diamonds Fund. I want to make THON better for them. A quote by Mahatma Gandhi really helped serve as an inspiration during the application process, ‘the future depends on what we do in the present.’ It’s a very simple quote, but it helped focus the idea of creating a well-built foundation for THON today, so that THON can have strong future and continue to provide such an amazing experience to the families.”

Charlotte Kohl – Overall Communications Chairperson

Onward State’s own Charlottle Kohl is this year’s communications overall. Charlotte, a junior political science major, described her first THON experience by saying “[THON] was not just a test of strength for the dancers, but a celebration of these kids’ and these families’ strength.” She described her role as the Communications overall as “making sure that everyone in the Penn State community—faculty, staff, students, alumni—anyone that falls under the Penn State umbrella on all campuses, feels engaged and can help THON and in the fight against pediatric cancer.”

Anuj Upadhyay – Overall Donor and Alumni Relations Chairperson

This year’s donor and alumni relations overall, Anuj Upadhyay, a senior chemical engineering major, described his favorite THON memory from his junior year in high school as “[seeing] the worry free faces of the kids and their families and now realiz[ing] that there in-lies the power of THON, to serve as an escape for these kids for 1 weekend. Since then I have been in love with THON and nothing will ever change that.” Anuj described the role of the Donor and Alumni Committee is to ensure that every donor of THON has a great working experience with THON.

Kinjal Mathur – Overall Entertainment Chairperson

Kinjal Mathur is a senior majoring in biology with a chlorine allergy. He is also the 2012 Entertainment overall! Kinjal’s favorite THON memory is last year’s laser show during pre-THON because of “The look of shock and excitement on all of the volunteers, crowd, families and kids was more than any of us Entertainment Captain’s could have hoped for and it definitely set the tone for the entire THON 2011 weekend.”

Kaylee Tully – Overall Family Relations Chairperson

Kaylee Tully is a senior majoring in Supply Chain and Information Systems who was a Supply Logistics captain before turning to Family Relations. She became a part of FR and a part of THON to help many families, not just one. Obviously, she’s looking forward to Family Hour, but she’s also excited for all the work her captains put in to be shown during THON weekend.

Vicki Marone – Overall Finance Chairperson

Vicki is a senior majoring in Math AND Energy Business AND Finance. My brain aches just thinking about that. Anyway, Vicki and the finance committee have the daunting task of processing all of the donations to THON over the course of the year. “Any other cash or check donation is touched by a Finance Captain before it is deposited to the Penn State Dance Marathon,” Vicki said.

Tommy Scharnitz  – Overall Hospitality Chairperson

Tommy is a senior biology major and is in charge of the hospitality committee this year. “All of the Hospitality Captains are responsible for procuring all food and beverage donations throughout the year,” he said when describing the role of the hospitality committee. “We do this by reaching out to local donors and regional donors.” Besides manning the hospitality committee, Tommy is also a noted fan of the Velociraptor.

Jackie Swerdon – Overall Merchandise Chairperson

I’m color blind. The BJC during THON weekend makes my brain explode. This year, I’ll blame Jackie Swerdon for that! As the merchandise overall, Jackie, a senior supply chain major, and her committee are in charge of all of the THON merchandise, from the 100 days ‘til THON shirts up to the colored shirts sported by each committee on THON weekend. The merchandise committee are also approve the designs for the shirts of each organization. “We make new gear every year. We get rid of some things; kind of clean up the THON store, and make it fit with the trends of the season. We run the sales in the HUB, and the THON store online. We fill all those orders and send them out,” she said.

Gen Goldsmith – Overall Morale Chairperson

One of Gen Goldsmith’s favorite THON memories is performing last year’s line dance on stage. “The energy in the BJC was astounding and everyone’s reaction to it was more than we could have asked for,” she recalled. “It was a moment that represented our year together and embracing each other afterwards was the perfect start to THON for me.” Gen, also known as the Stretch Queen, oversees teaching hundreds of students how to properly morale dancers. “Through “Moraling 101,” they learn how to morale dancers; what is appropriate, and what is not appropriate,” she said. “A lot of the people in the BJC don’t understand that, and Moralers are pretty much the only ones who do. You can’t say the time. You can’t even say, ‘I just ate breakfast,’ because the dancers are going to know it is around breakfast time.”

Will Martin – Overall OPPerations Chairperson

Will Martin, a senior Communication Science and Disorders major, oversees the OPPerations committee, the students who transform the Bryce Jordan Center into the spectacle we see every THON weekend. The OPPerations committee, which has over 730 students, do everything from scrubbing the mats from the BJC floor to setting up dance storage areas. “On THON Weekend we are in charge of transforming the Bryce Jordan Center to what we know as THON. This takes a lot of logistical planning throughout the year,” Will said. “This includes bringing all THON supplies into the Bryce Jordan Center, setting up the floor, and dancer storage areas. It’s just a very big puzzle with a lot of pieces.”

Kirsten Quisenberry – Overall Public Relations Chairperson

When it comes to THON, media support is a huge way to raise interest and awareness across the country. The public relations committee, led by senior graphic design major Kirsten Quisenberry, uses the media, as well as social media platforms, to promote the message of THON. “It is our job to continue to garner support and raise awareness of pediatric cancer through traditional forms of media, as well as social media, and just let everyone what these students are doing to make a difference,” she said.

Maireed Hanna – Overall Rules and Regulations Chairperson

Maireed Hanna is a (Super!) Senior and the R&R overall. According to Hanna, the Rules and Regulations committee are “responsible for the security of the BJC during THON Weekend, as well as at various pre-THON events, like the Family Carnival and the FT5K, where the committee members may be working as well.” Maireed was an R&R captain for two years and has now worked her way up to being the committees overall.

Becky Mayes – Overall Special Events Chairperson

Becky Mayes is a senior majoring in psychology and sociology, a holiday sock connoisseur, and the Special Events overall for 2012! THON might only be a 46-hour event, but the Special Events committee shows that THON is a year-round effort. “We make sure that families and the children are receiving year-long support, as well as year-long fundraising efforts,” Mayes said. “We essentially work with all of the other committees in making sure that the events are the best that they possibly can be, for the children, for the families, and for all of the volunteers.”

Pat Howley – Overall Supply Logistics Chairperson

Mr. Howley, a senior HRIM major, runs the supply logistics department. You don’t know what that means? Me either. We’ll let the man explain it himself. From his interview with the dashing Ryan Kristobak, he explained his committee’s role in THON. “As Supply Logistics, we are responsible for acquiring all of THON’s in-kind donations that are not food. That’s anything from arts, crafts and fabric; to paint, hardware, and lumber; to toys, games, sporting games, and so on. We are also in charge of the THON raffle, as well as all of THON’s printing needs, so getting anything printed like pamphlets or folders.”

Andrew Ogburn – Overall Technology Chairperson

Ever wonder who runs the THON website? The answer is the Technology committee. Andrew Ogburn, a senior IST major, heads the Tech committee. The Tech committee also manages THINK, the THON Information Network, and the PASS system. The PASS system manages floor capacity throughout THON weekend, but it has had some troubles in the past. In regards to past issues, Andrew said that “there are little caveats with the new system, so we are working them out and figuring out the best logistics, and working with the BJC to make sure it all works.

About the Author

Sam Cooper

Sam is a senior originally from Newtown, PA who majors in print journalism and is a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. His athletic peak was age 11 so he decided to grow a beard and write about sports instead.

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