PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



First Time THONners Tell Their Story

As a freshman, this is my first time at THON, and I cannot even begin to adequately put my thoughts into words. Upon entering the Bryce Jordan Center at four in the afternoon, a shiver shot up my spine, and the goosebumps that accompanied it have yet to leave. Unable to describe this one of a kind experience, I searched the BJC hoping that other first time THONners could do it for me.

Julian Lui, a freshman pledging Alpha Kappa Psi, was beaming in the stands when I decided to approach him. It was evident that Julian was enjoying himself from the giant blow up whale that he was flailing in the air, and when I asked him what he was feeling, he responded with “amazed.”

“There’s so much energy here,” Lui said. “When you’re canning and everything, every org is individual, it’s almost a competition. But then you come in here, and everything molds into one. I never expected that all of these people could come together like this.”

Ayda Superoglu, a junior from Omega Phi Alpha, was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to attend THON. After catching an unfortunate case of the flu her freshman year, and being abroad last year, Ayda was an eager first time THONner, and has been completely overwhelmed by the experience. She was mesmerized by the sea of color surrounding her, and could not believe that, after eight long hours, energy was still elating from her. Following an unlucky first two years in regards to THON, this is a precious opportunity for Superoglu, and she had little intention of leaving the BJC when her shift ended.

The most heartfelt first time THON experience, however, came from two teary-eyed freshmen in the stands. Anja Dietrich and Brynne Travis, both pledges of Alpha Kappa Psi, started out today like every other THON loving Penn Stater.

“We were so anxious while waiting in line,” Dietrich said. “You see pictures and videos, but this is truly a feeling that cannot be explained until you’ve experienced it.”

A few hours later, the girls’ nights took an unexpected turn upon hearing some of the most upsetting news that they had ever been faced with. Their close friend from home, Jacqueline Fioravanti, had lost her four year battle to cancer just moments before. Jacqueline graduated from Merion Mercy Academy in 2012, and had been fighting brain cancer since the age of fifteen. Recently, a huge support system had emerged for Jacqueline all over social media, and #teamJacqueline trended nationally on Twitter. Though upset by the passing of her friend, Dietrich felt that sharing her story was exactly what Jacqueline would have wanted.

“This experience is so powerful right now,” said Dietrich. “All day people were tweeting “#teamjacqueline” and “We THON for Jacqueline,” and now it’s just so real. Since there is no way I could’ve been with her, this is honestly the second best thing. It really puts into perspective what we’re doing here, and I can only hope that THON will be successful in finding the cure so that no kids have to go through what Jacqueline went through.”

Our deepest condolences go out to Jacqueline’s family and friends. And this, Penn State, is why we THON.

About the Author

Lindsay Hummell

Sophomore majoring in Biobehavioral Health.


More by Lindsay

Penn State Giftmas Guide

Find the perfect Penn State gift for everyone at the top, or the bottom, of your list this holiday season.

Mr. R&R and Mrs. Entertainment Crowned at the THON Pageant

The Do’s and Don’ts of Canning with Strangers


Big Ten Releases Men’s And Women’s Basketball Schedules

Penn State men’s basketball will kick off the Big Ten’s first-ever 20-game conference stretch with a pair of games in early December, while the Lady Lions have a slate featuring games against five NCAA Tournament teams at home.

Penn State Hockey Releases 2018-19 Roster

Penn State Women’s Soccer Sophomores Start Season Strong

Penn State Women’s Soccer Beats Duquesne 6-0

Shea Moyer Lifts Penn State Women’s Soccer Past West Virginia 1-0

Student Life

Staff Picks: Grabbing A Drink With A Prominent Penn Stater

If you had the chance to hear about Penn State from (or throw down at a State College bar for a night with) some of its most prominent figures, who would you want to grab a beer with?

Freshman 101: Helpful Links

Nominations Now Open For Gender-Neutral Homecoming Court

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Mayor Don Hahn Plans To Veto Overnight Parking Restrictions In Highlands Neighborhood

Those in favor of the ordinance plan to consider overturning the veto at a special meeting next Monday.

Video Recovery, Alcohol Education The Focus As New Preliminary Hearing Begins For Former Beta Theta Pi Brothers

Seven former Beta Theta Pi brothers were back in court on Tuesday for another preliminary hearing  in the Penn State fraternity hazing case stemming from the 2017 death of pledge Timothy Piazza.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Staff Picks: Grabbing A Drink With A Prominent Penn Stater

If you had the chance to hear about Penn State from (or throw down at a State College bar for a night with) some of its most prominent figures, who would you want to grab a beer with?

Send this to a friend