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Meet the THON 2014 Directors: Brian Dunn, Morale 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 Morale Director Brian Dunn.

Brian Dunn, Morale Director

Year: 5th Year Senior

Major/Minor: Graphic Design and Advertising

Fun Fact: Despite being 6’2”, I’m the shortest guy in my family.

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

Brian Dunn: My experiences with THON every year have only increased and have only increased my passion for it, and when it came time to apply last year, I realized that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I didn’t want to pass it up just because I thought I might be too busy or I might not have time for it. I really wanted to to make as big of a difference as I possibly could, so I decided why not, and now I’m here.

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

BD: The mission of the Morale Committee is to extend physical and emotional support to the dancers during THON weekend and it also extends energy and assistance to other committees within THON for the entire year. My job as Director is more so overseeing my captains and making sure they’re relaying important information to their committees. The biggest thing for this year, my goal is to make sure that the Morale Committee Members are as prepared and educated as possible so that THON weekend they’re able to keep a dancer on their feet for 46 hours because I think in the past there might not have been as much education as I would have liked, so one of my biggest goals is to make sure that all of the Morale Committee Members are as prepared as possible for THON weekend so that there are as little issues as possible for the dancers.

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

BD: Education would have to be the biggest thing. As I just said, I’d like to educate committee members in stretching and EMS so that they are able to make sure that their dancers are as healthy as possible THON weekend and that they are able to accomplish it because after all, the dancers are there for the kids, so our mission is to make sure that they’re able to be there for the kids the entire weekend. Beyond educating them about the dancers, I’d like to educate them about THON in general, so making sure that they know what each of the other committees is doing, because when it comes down to it, the more knowledge they have about what the other committees are doing, the better THON weekend will run. I think that if they know that OPP is doing sweeping, I want them to know why they’re doing that and when they might be doing it, so I think it will just make THON weekend run that much more smoothly if they’re knowledgeable about what all of the other committees do THON weekend.

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

BD: I would have to say seeing my captains get their committees for the first time, just because that was probably one of my favorite moments, so being able to see their reaction to having committees and seeing them get excited and seeing them spread their passion to other THON volunteers is going to be an awesome opportunity. I’m excited to see them kind of grow as leaders at that time. Also the big events, like the 5K, Family Carnival, and anything that involves the kids because Morale doesn’t necessarily have as much family interaction as some of the other committees, so whenever we do get to interact with the kids at the big events, I always love that.

OS: Why do you THON?

BD: I’ve been really fortunate that in my immediate family, cancer hasn’t necessarily really touched us, but because of that I feel the need to make sure that other families get the support that they do deserve and that they should have. When I came here as a freshman, I didn’t know what THON was, so what’s been cool about this opportunity is that why I THON has always grown and grown as I’ve grown as a leader in THON. Every year I find more and more reasons why I THON. Every interaction with a kid makes me want to push that much harder to make sure that they get the support that they need and know that they aren’t alone in this fight.

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

BD: I hope the Pirates, because I’m from Pittsburgh, so that would be cool if the Pirates could make it. Also the new Fox song.

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

BD: A brontosaurus, because it’s very tall and it has a long neck, and I’m tall and kind of have a long neck, so I feel like it’s kind of a good description.

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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