In Response to “What THON Means to Me”

Let me start by saying that my fellow editor, Kevin, did no wrong in publishing his post. He initiated public criticism of THON, something most irrationally fear, and is necessary to the vitality of the program. His concerns are valid, and only seek to craft a more dynamic philanthropy. This is what opinion columns are all about.

However, what he is arguing for, in large, is for all people to destroy the ego. I can tell you that no philosopher has ever been able to solve this dilemma, hence why this would be considered idealism. No matter what we become involved with in our life, our motives will always differ from others. You can ask someone to monitor their behavior, but you cannot ask them to alter their motivation. That duty solely belongs to the individual, so as long as they do their duties, and do not tarnish THON, what does it matter?

And quite often, it is difficult for one to find honest purpose without an experience of exceptional inspiration. This is where we see THON Weekend come in. No, THON is not simply there for our own betterment. As an R&R Committee Member (and Security Leader) of two years, I can guarantee that I have interacted with more families and children than any that have not been in a committee, and this weekend means the world to them. If you read through our THON Weekend posts, you would have seen in the Whitehead and Carrano family posts, it is stated that for both Emily and Lauren (respectively), THON means more to them than Christmas. There is no denying THON Weekend is at least equally as fun for the families as it is for us.

However, would it be so terrible that THON Weekend not only sought to provide both normality (kids can be kids with no doctors around and parents can relax) and the extraordinary (two day celebration in honor of the kids; endless games, music and fun; $10.86 million dollars raised that will substantially ease each families lives) for the families, but to help better each one of us? For us to do greater good, we must grow ourselves. Yes, it shouldn’t necessarily take such a huge festival to achieve self-improvement, but THON Weekend has already found purpose in the children, so why not enjoy ourselves?

Now this is where it may be hard for people who are not heavily involved with a committee or organization to understand, but when you spend all year attending meetings, getting to know all your committee/organization members, reading the amazing and tragic tales of many of the families, and sharing your personal beliefs behind why you THON, THON Weekend naturally means more. None of you would argue that you get back what you give. Like Kevin, and many more, I didn’t miss a moment of this past THON Weekend, and through my duties, I went through emotion after emotion. Exhaustion challenged my ability to stay positive and passionate, and while there were moments that I faltered, my love for the cause always came through.

All this being said, I do agree that THON needs to constantly re-evaluate their rules. If THON is indeed filled with people who are in it for the wrong reason, then where do we seek an outlet for improvement? The THON captains, organization leaders, and overalls. I would consider you a fool if you believe any of these people were in THON just for booze and/or babes, because knowing many personally (some being some of the best of friends I have in Happy Valley), their lives are busy as hell from the day they are hired ’til THON Weekend ends (and, for some, beyond). They sacrifice almost every weekend’s festivities, rarely having any time for leisure. Sit down with any of these leaders, and there is a near certain chance you are going to get the conversation you are looking for.

And, if your ideas are true, they will not go unheard.

One point that Kevin makes that I think we all can learn from and implement immediately is the ending of all petty gloating. Yes, what we have accomplished this year is nothing short of spectacular, and we should be very proud of ourselves. However, we must only take satisfaction through our continued service. With greater awareness comes greater responsibility, and so we must take it upon ourselves to act with humility. Instead of creating a Facebook group, or designing shirts that pretentiously attempt to prove how much better our school is, direct your excitement toward what will make THON even more successful next year.

For more of my thoughts on how THON can improve, read here.

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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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