Springfield: More Than Just an Organization, a Family

Springfielders are quirky, passionate, dedicated, and innovative, but above all, they are a family. As we celebrate THON’s 40th birthday Springfield celebrates its 12th–12 years and a million dollars raised for THON, but also 12 years of close relationships with its THON families and 12 years of the larger, ever-growing Springfield family.

Springfield was born in 2000 out of Simmons Hall, with the intention of providing an alternative avenue to THON to the typical Greek life and Schreyer Honors College organizations that most Simmons residents saw as the only pathway to involvement in THON. Its inaugural handful of ten or so members became the first members of the Springfield family, starting a tradition of close friendship that remains at the roots of Springfield to this day. Now, a few generations later, Springfield boasts lifelong friends and even a few married couples.

In addition to being the first special interest organization, Springfield has continually created new and innovative ways to raise money FTK.  In its first year Springfield turned the basement of Simmons into a haunted house and managed to “gain donations from almost every terrified student”. In 2010, Springfield created a JoePa football memorabilia raffle, inspiring other organizations to think up similar alternative fundraisers. And, in 2008, THON’s Finance Overall consulted Springfield’s Donor Relations Chair on the organization’s outstanding donor database to better improve the overall database for all of THON.

“To see the legacy that [Springfielders] built and being able to follow that legacy through to the millionth dollar and to be a part of something 12 years in the making—it’s an honor.” -Meg Barnett: Senior, Four-year Springfielder, Dancer, Donor Relations Chair

Today, Springfield continues its tradition of creativity and remains a close-knit family of friends—but its expanded from the original ten to a hundred or so close friends. Though Springfield has managed to gain some prominence from its high fundraising totals core it always remembers the love and support it draws from its three THON families. At the center of this family are the Springfield’s three THON families: the Colons, the Negleys, and the Robertsons.

In 2006, the Colons’ baby boy Xavier passed away at Hershey Medical Center, but his memory—his beautiful smile, his energy, and his will to fight—lives on through every Springfielder. The Negleys and their daughter, Renata—who recently completed her steroid treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia—their son, Abel, and their newest addition to the family, baby Jude, are also a source of strength and joy for Springfielders. And Kenzie Robertson—cancer free for ten years and a veteran of many THONs—completes the Springfield family and continues to inspire its members to put their hearts and souls into anything and everything they do For The Kids.

As they commemorate their 12th birthday and millionth dollar raised, a hundred or so Springfielders celebrate at THON, not just for the hundreds of Springfielders that have lived and loved Penn State, but also for those continue to dance and fight for an end to childhood cancer.

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Bobby Chen

Writer and photographer, helping tell the many stories of the Penn State community.

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