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Special Interest Organizations Prepare For THON 2015

With THON rapidly approaching, all participants are beginning to gear up for the 46-hour, no sitting or sleeping dance marathon. In just one week, students will pack the Bryce Jordan Center to partake in the event. Most special interest organizations are working to prepare their members and dancers for the upcoming event.

There are 23 special interest organizations on campus, and their sole purposes are to fundraise for THON and form bonds with the Four Diamonds families. Although all the orgs are doing similar preparations, each puts its own spin on things beyond the basic planning. Here’s a look at the activities of some special interest orgs for the upcoming week:

FOTO

“As THON approaches, FOTO members are making their last pushes for donations, as well as getting to know each other better. We have hosted movie nights, a tubing trip to Tussey Mountain, and a rap battle in the past couple of weeks. We are hosting a retreat trip this coming weekend to prepare everyone for THON. Our dancers have cut out chocolate, caffeine, coffee, alcohol, and junk food as they prepare, and have been going to the gym, power remix classes, and hot yoga to get their bodies physically prepared. Going into THON weekend, we not only want to support all the Four Diamonds families, but our org family as well.”

Springfield

“I’m sure there’s a lot we do that’s similar to other orgs: Dancers cut caffeine, members buy THON weekend gear, and we hold a Q&A for new members. One of the more unique things we do is a Spirit Week leading up to THON. Each day features something different to get us in the right mindset.

Monday: We watch the Disney ‘Four Diamonds’ movie — we’re lucky enough to receive it on loan directly from Hershey every year.

Tuesday: We have an org-wide dinner where THON veterans reminisce and teach new members the tricks of Springfield’s THON weekend experience — stands dances, chants, and the like.

Wednesday: We make custom ‘whiteout’ T-shirts for the THON Pep Rally on Saturday night and inspirational posters for our dancers.

Thursday: This is our most important day — it’s our annual Head Shaving, where all the guys get together and have the girls shave their heads down to the scalp, literally using a safety razor to take off the last of the buzz cut. It really makes a huge difference for the kids THON weekend to see the ‘big,’ ‘cool’ college kids looking just like them, still dancing and smiling and celebrating, and it’s one of our longest traditions, dating back to Springfield’s first THON in 2001.”

Everyday THON

“As the big weekend approaches, Everyday is getting preparing by getting all of our gear ready (look for us in those snazzy propeller hats!), distributing more THONvelopes, and finishing up some last minute fundraisers. Our dancers, Brian and Matt, are getting lots of sleep and have cut caffeine completely. They are so excited to stand for 46, FTK!”

A-7

“This year, a lot of our preparation has been trying to prepare our members for the new rules that THON has in place for entering the BJC, which is a lot different than in years past. Besides that, we have our usual stuff, which includes making dancer mail and creating props for the stands, like blowups of our dancers’ heads. Our THON family is also coming up so we have a lot of prep to do for that. As for our dancers, we’ve told them just to stay active, eat right, avoid caffeine and alcohol, and get plenty of sleep.”

Apollo FTK

Apollo

“With only eight more days to get ready, we’re certainly in the process of a great deal of THON weekend prep. We have three foci for the general members of Apollo as we head into the weekend: making sure our members understand all of the THON weekend procedures (i.e. PASS, entrance plan, etc.), preparing all of the materials and entertainment schedules for our members in the stands, and last-minute fundraising and inspiration.

Our dancers are working hard to channel their most celestial, Apollo-like selves by watching classics like Apollo 13 and Space Jam, eating gummy rocket ships, and staring at the stars for many hours at a time.

In terms of what makes us stand out at this point, we’re looking forward to our Noahhawk shaving party on the Thursday before THON, where all of the boys shave mohawks into their hair like one of our 4D kids, Noah. It’s certainly one of the more fun events! We even have a girl, Jenny Dobson, participating this year, which is really, really awesome.”

Tetra

“To prepare for THON, Tetra has been doing a few things. We have THON weekend committee meetings once a week where we make signs/posters, create chants, and go over logistics for the weekend. One thing we’ve sort of made a tradition is to have one of our general meetings be a ‘THON weekend’-themed meeting.

Last year at our ‘THON weekend’ general meeting, we simulated the event by having a dance party, line dance every 10 minutes, Slides of Strength, and Family Hour, where our two dancers pumped us up for THON, all in an hour. This year, we asked our members to rock some awesome THON/Tetra merch, talked about what to bring and wear to THON, wrote dancer mail, and did the line dance two times throughout the meeting to get our members in the THON spirit!”

Hershey Kisses For The Kids

“This year, our organization, Hershey Kisses For The Kids, has been preparing in somewhat of a different manner than in the past. Our THON child is unable to make it to THON this year, so we have been visiting our family as often as we can on the weekends. She has helped us pick out our fun outfits to show off in the BJC, and asked that we never stop dancing. We have ordered our new merchandise for the 2015 year, and have been working on painting our letters to hold in the stands. Our dancers have been working out on a regular basis, eating as healthy as possible, and have planned out what they will be wearing throughout THON weekend.

The rest of the organization has been working hard preparing games and activities to interact with the dancers. We have been fortunate enough to share Ellen’s story with different media outlets, including newspapers and WPSU’s radio show. Our goal is to make sure we continue to support our THON family and have them feel as included in THON weekend as possible. As long as we continue doing what we’re doing, THON 2015 looks like it’s going to be one for the books!”

Is your organization doing anything special to prepare for THON? Let us know in the comments. We dance in seven!

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About the Author

Caitlyn Edgell

Caitlyn is a sophomore from Hollidaysburg, PA and is studying Political Science. She is also the Social Media Manager at Onward State. To contact Caitlyn, email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @caitlyn_edgell.

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