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Meet the THON Directors: Kelly Tompeck, Communications Director

With THON season in full swing, we conducted a series of interviews with each member of the THON 2014 Executive Committee in order to better connect the Penn State community with the leaders of the largest student run philanthropy in the world. This week features Communications Director Kelly Tompeck.

Kelly Tompeck, Communications Director

Current Year: 5th Year Senior

Major/Minor: Biobehavioral Health

Fun Fact: I hated Penn State until I came here. I never wanted to come here, but senior year of high school I came here for the first time and fell in love.

Onward State: Why did you apply to be a part of the Executive Committee for THON 2014?

Kelly Tompeck: I applied because as a senior I really found my niche on Comm and had an awesome experience with it, and I had an opportunity to stay a fifth year and really thought that it was a great opportunity to continue to give back to THON. It’s one of the defining features of my college career, and I can’t imagine being a Penn Stater without being a member of THON as well. I just really wanted to continue to give back as much as I possibly could.

OS: Summarize some of the responsibilities of the Communications Committee, and then the role you play as Director within those responsibilities.

KT: The Communications Committee acts as the liaison between THON as the student run organization and all of the organizations on campus that fundraise on behalf of THON. We also play a role in outreach within the university, as well as alumni. We have committees for Campus Outreach – Students, Campus Outreach – Faculty, an Alumni Relations Committee, and we also serve as the liaison to any Mini-THONs or Dance Marathons that reach out to us. Our job is mainly to facilitate the relationship between THON and all of the organizations that fundraise for THON. My role as director is to manage 24 captains who are acting as those liaisons and those means of outreach. I also answer a lot of emails, so if anyone reaches out to me with questions about how to get involved or any other questions in general, I answer those. Communications serves as the information hub responsible for knowing anything and everything that has to do with THON. My captains also staff the office, so from 9-5 on Monday through Friday, two Communications Captains sit at the desk and are responsible for answering any questions that THON chairs come in with.

OS: What are your overall goals for this year? What are you looking to change and improve to make the Communications Committee the best it can be?

KT: Like I said, Communications is split into two sides. We have the liaison side, which works strictly with our organizations and independent dancer couples, and then we have the side that is more focused on outreach. As for the liaison side, I just want them to have a really strong year like they did last year. Our organizations did amazingly last year, and I’d like to hope that some of that can be attributed to the hard work of the liaison team last year. I want to see them continue to do anything and everything they can to help our organizations fundraise. In terms of outreach, I think sometimes faculty view THON in a bit of a negative light because they view it as a reason why some students miss class. From THON’s perspective, we don’t tell volunteers that THON is an acceptable reason to miss class. We want to bridge the gap between the faculty and the students because the students are so involved in THON and we want the faculty to get excited about this thing that so many of their students are passionate about. My Campus Outreach – Faculty captain will be working really hard to create a new event for faculty to get involved in. We also want to increase the number of students on campus who are involved and who are passionate about the cause, because despite the fact that we think so many students are involved in THON, there are still a lot we haven’t reached yet.

OS: What moment or moments are you most looking forward to during the upcoming THON year? Be as specific or vague as you’d like.

KT: I’m excited for all of the major events, obviously — the 5k, Family Carnival, etc. I think getting to go to Harvest Day is going to be really awesome because my organization had a Four Diamonds child, but other than that I haven’t gotten a whole lot of interaction with Four Diamonds Families, so I’m really looking forward to that as well. I’m also really looking forward to seeing my captains come into their roles, and start working with their organizations and their respective positions and seeing what they do with them, and I’m also really looking forward to seeing my captains the morning of THON weekend. As a captain, that was one of the most amazing experiences that I had THON weekend. Just kind of walking in and seeing THON before it happens, during it, and then watching the whole tear down process I think is going to be a really neat experience for my captains, so I’m looking forward to that too.

OS: Why do you THON?

KT: I actually got involved with THON because my cousin forced me to fill out a committee member application. But I THON because I’m passionate about helping people. I’ve wanted to be a doctor my entire life, and THON is an amazing cause that does such great things for kids and families who really need our help, and it’s giving back in the most fulfilling way you could possibly imagine. I THON so that those kids don’t have to worry about it, so their families don’t have to worry about anything, and they can just focus on getting their children healthy and living to see the next day, and the next year, and the next chapter of their lives.

OS: Name an event or two that you think will make the line dance this year.

KT: Probably something about the Royal Baby, because that was huge. I’m interested to see what happens with the Winter Olympics, and if there’s anything that happens in terms of a boycott and if that would be in the line dance. If anything happened with that, that might make it in too.

OS: If you could be any dinosaur, which would you be and why?

KT: I think it’s a brontosaurus, that huge one that was a herbivore, because it’s like a gentle giant. I don’t know why, but I feel like it’s a really cool one. I’d be that one.

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About the Author

Anna Ungar

Penn State Class of 2015 Visual Communications major, Onward State photographer, THON 2014 Public Relations Captain, Camp Kesem of Penn State Marketing & PR Coordinator, anglophile, lover of chocolate milk, bows, cats, The Office, photography, Morgan Freeman, and british accents. Orders a side of pickles with everything.

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