Why We Never Forget Our First Time at THON

You never forget your first THON experience. Whether you’re on a committee, participating as a part of Greek Life, or especially if you are a part of THON family, you’re first THON weekend at the Bryce Jordan Center is undoubtedly a roller coaster of emotions.

For OPP Committee Member Marissa Restaino, her first THON experience has been over-exceeding her expectations thus far. “My initial feeling was obviously excitement. It’s truly amazing what everyone does here,” she said. “The pictures I’ve seen look exactly like it does right now, but they weren’t as exciting or crazy. Seeing the little kids dancing was more than I expected.”

As a committee member, her greatest concerns are for her captain and making sure everything runs smoothly. She didn’t even mention her inevitable fatigue or delirium, an expected worry for first timers.

Allie Galoozis, a freshman participating in her first THON with Kappa Alpha Theta, described seeing the dancers stand up as “magical.”

“It was just so inspiring to see our dancers out there with their families. One of our dancers, Jordan, was holding her sister’s baby and talking with her family. She was relaying the THON message on to her own family.”

Allie was a little more surprised by the THON atmosphere. “You’re so much closer to everything, the dancers, the kids, than any of the videos show. It’s all so close to us.”

Her goal for the weekend is to get the line dance down, which should be no problem because she said she will be there for over thirty hours throughout the weekend. Allie says she will keep her energy up with nonstop dancing and by not thinking about the time or fatigue.

Both first timers are most excited to see events like mail call, the last four hours, and the total reveal.

The first THON experience for a family is quite different than it is for students. Allie and Marissa spent the entire first semester canning and raising money through their organizations and learning from stories of THONs past, but new THON families have little preparation for what they will encounter.

For Eli, 5, it’s his first time being a part of this huge celebration. He is a THON child from Mechanchisburg, Pa., and is here with his family, comprising of his three-year-old twin siblings and his mother. Watching Eli and his siblings run about the concourse with a few students, his mother found herself in awe.

“Its amazing. It’s amazing and it’s overwhelming,” she said. “Everyone, the students interact so well with the kids. There’s so much we don’t even know what to look forward to. You can’t really even explain what THON is.”

It’s true. THON is something that you have to see to really believe, and for these first timers, the excitement has only just begun.

Is this your first time at THON? Share your experience in the comments!

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Sophomore majoring in Journalism and minoring in Sociology. From Albany, NY


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