In the Hopes of Bridging THON

Last year, I wrote a post-THON piece detailing the conflicts between members of the THON audience and the Rules & Regulations Committee. Unfortunately, I, along with many other R&R members, ran into similar situations this past weekend. Before I explain, let me state that this is not some call for pity, but an effort to help bridge together all of us involved, in some way or another, with THON.

THON is an effort achieved through the dedication and hard work of all its parts, but when it comes to the dirty work, responsibility lies in the hands of R&R and OPP. Almost immediately following Thursday’s basketball game, OPP began the transformation of the BJC into what we know as THON. At 5 a.m. Friday, the R&R Captains joined in, and many other committees arrived shortly after. Without any intermission, the BJC doors opened and THON Weekend commenced. For 46 hours, the R&R and OPP Captains ensured the cleanliness and safety of the BJC.

Once THON Weekend had come to its conclusion, and all made their way out, many of the committees remained to help tear down and scrub every corner of the BJC. R&R Captains continued to work until about 8:30 p.m., whereas OPP was not able to leave until 1:30 a.m. If this were not enough, the R&R Captains were called back to duty at 10 a.m the next morning because the BJC’s immaculate standards were not met, performing tasks that the BJC Staff are rarely ever asked to do, until various members of other committees came to relieve them around 1 p.m.

There is much dispute over the rules enforced by R&R, and there are some that even I would like to see revisited. The most common complaints deal with issues such as bringing food into the BJC, standing in the aisles, and not being able to acquire a floor pass. I know some of these may seem petty, and I won’t pretend that those who enforce them are always abundant with civility, but many of the rules are those of the Bryce Jordan Center, which THON must uphold if it wants to continue to use the facilities.

Once again, the PASS System took a lot of criticism. As a Security Leader, I have had no experience with the PASS System, but Editor Drew Balis can explain:

“As a PASS Leader for the Rules and Regulations Committee, I had the responsibility of interacting with guests in line at a few unfortunate times when the system did not go perfectly according to plan. From my experience, all of the students were extremely understanding and respectful. Most of the parents and family members who were there to see dancers were too, but if I ever was going to receive an angry response, that is who it came from.

I could sympathize with them…to an extent. They were at the BJC to see their dancers, and many traveled a great distance to do so. I likely would have been frustrated too if I was in their position; however, I wish some of them could have rememberd what THON is supposed to be all about during that time: FTK.

I realize many come for different reasons, and I have a ton of respect for the dancers. I am good friends with a few who danced, and even after training and prepration, I am not certain I could do what 708 people did for 46 hours. However, the worst thing that could possibly happen to a dancer is that maybe they’d be sent to a hospital and see a doctor who will say something along the lines of “You’re sleep deprived and dehydrated. Go home, drink some water, and you’ll feel better tomorrow.” Most dancers did not have their childhood stripped away from them due to cancer nor will they wake up with cancer Monday morning.

I cannot blame one for being frustrated but don’t let something like that make you lose sight of the reason we all should be at the Bryce Jordan Center, the kids.”

In order to overcome these miscommunications, both sides must do their part.

During this year, the Overall Committee has made great efforts towards spreading awareness of all limbs of THON. Through the Committee of the Week videos, blog entries, and other productions, THON has attempted to clarify the responsibilities of each committee. For some, like Entertainment or Family Relations, there is little confusion to be had. For others, like R&R and Public Relations, I believe greater insight into why they uphold certain regulations could go a long way in easing THON Weekend tension, as well as throughout the year’s many events leading up to THON.

For those not on a committee, take the time to watch, listen, and read through the content that THON spends so much time creating. We are all a part of THON, and so it is our job to know how all of its pieces work. When an R&R member tells you can’t come into a portal because it is at capacity, understand that there is nothing that can be done to change that, and try to find a seat somewhere else. If the PASS System fails, know that Tech and R&R are doing all within their abilities to have it running again. If there is no floor space available during any point of THON, do not blame committee members. THON runs for 46 hours straight, and having been there for the whole time this year, there are countless hours (like those of the early morning) when the floor is fairly barren. Family and friends, if you want to support your dancer(s), then bend your schedule to meet their needs.

As pointed out by Editor Kevin Horne in his post from earlier today, THON is not perfect. Nothing is, and with something as beautiful as THON, it is hard to admit. But if we are to provide the greatest experience For The Kids, we must begin this conversation.

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About the Author

Ryan Kristobak

Hailing from Lebanon, PA, I am a senior majoring in print journalism. Things I enjoy include lovesacs, denim, mullets, Fight Milk, Jonny Moseley, and "hang in there" kitten posters. Things that bother me include "fun" sized candy bars (not fun), fish, shoobies, wet door knobs, baby leashes, and Jake Lloyd.

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