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Meet the THON 2014 Directors: Kristen Toole, Entertainment 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 Entertainment Director Kristen Toole.

Kristen Toole, Entertainment Director

Current Year: Senior

Major/Minor: Communication Sciences and Disorders with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies

Fun Fact: When I was younger, my brother accidentally punched out my two front teeth and I didn’t have any front teeth for about two years.

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

Kristen Toole: The first time that I came to THON and walked into the BJC, I knew it was something special. Seeing thousands of Penn State students come together for one common cause really inspired me in a way I’ll never forget. In that moment I knew that I wanted to give as much time and energy to the cause as I possibly could. Each year that I’m involved I feel like I find more and more reasons to THON; meeting new families, and hearing their stories. These kids are fighting each day and they deserve to have 15,000 Penn State students fighting alongside of them. I just knew that on the Executive Committee I really could give my absolute best each and every day.

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

KT: Entertainment is awesome in that there are so many different things that we do and each captain has very different responsibilities. We have Production, who is responsible for producing all of our videos. We have Local Entertainment, which is responsible for bringing in the acts for THON weekend. We have Floor and Crowd Entertainment, which plays a vital role in THON. This year we’re taking huge steps to try to bridge the gap between the floor and the crowd at THON and making the thousands of spectators who are in the crowd also feel involved. We have different liaison positions that work with our other committees, we have bands that bring in our bands for THON weekend. Entertainment is basically responsible for bringing the fun, bringing the excitement, making sure that the kids and dancers really have the best possible experience THON weekend and at all THON events throughout the year. As Director, my number one responsibility is overseeing all of that; making sure that my captains are going above and beyond to really ensure that this is the best THON yet.

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

KT: One of my major goals focuses on production and all of our videos. I want to make sure that each and every video more clearly focuses on THON, THON’s mission, The Four Diamonds Fund, or pediatric cancer. Whether it’s a Committee of the Week video or a small video that we’re showing THON weekend, I want anybody to be able to go onto our YouTube channel and select a video and be able to send it to a family member or a friend across the state, across the country, or ultimately across the world, and they’ll really understand what we’re doing here at Penn State. One of my second goals is making sure that the entire THON community knows that Entertainment is here as a resource. We really are a resource committee there to help everybody make their events the best that they can possibly be, whether it’s bringing in acts, having our DJ captains come and DJ their events, or having our film crew come and capture those special moments. So just making sure that everybody really knows we’re here for them. Another goal is really bringing the organizations into Entertainment more. Organizations play such an important role in THON, and even in our videos I feel like there are so many more ways to bring them in and get them involved in those as well as all of the events that Entertainment provides each year. My fourth goal is making sure that this year we really do provide the best entertainment for the kids and families and the dancers THON weekend. Just seeing the smiles that Entertainment is able to provide, it really is a special committee.

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 think that I’m most excited to have some personal interactions with the families and form those bonds. This summer I had the opportunity to go to Hershey a few times to film the kids for different videos and they really are superstars. Just being able to provide those smiles and hear the laughter and allow them to forget about treatment for a little while, Entertainment really has the ability to do that and it’s definitely what I’m looking forward to most.

OS: Why do you THON?

KT: Each year that I’m involved, I find a million reasons to THON. Meeting new people, whether it’s other volunteers or the families, and hearing everybody’s stories and just seeing everybody come together for this cause that means something different to each and every person. I think that it’s so special and it’s something that you don’t find too often.

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

KT: Probably the Royal Baby, and probably Miley Cyrus with that video with the wrecking ball and everything at the music awards. And Jen and Darcy, our new advisors, will probably be in there too.

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

KT: You know The Land Before Time? The really tiny one, Ducky. I don’t know what kind of dinosaur that one is, but I’d like to be that one. Or the one that flies, because I’d like to fly.

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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