This Year’s THON Is Rife With Change

Throughout the years, THON weekend has seen its fair share of growth and change. However, it seems as if this year is a particularly altered one: many aspects of THON, from the procedures of committees to the capacity of the floor, have undergone some sort of change. Some make sense in regards to the enormous scale of THON — others are a bit more confusing to understand.

To refresh yourself for some new characteristics of THON, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the changes taking effect in 2015.

New Digital Line Organizes Entrance Into BJC

In an effort to efficiently coordinate entry into the BJC on Friday afternoon, THON utilized a digital line that provided each organization with a place in the line and a time of entry. The time was determined simply by a first come, first serve basis, which was dependent upon when the organizations requested spaces in the digital line roughly two weeks ago.

As for placement within the BJC, Public Relations Captain Sam Shively said that the physical spots were distributed so as to make sure “the arena will look as it did in the past,” with various organizations equally represented throughout the stands. With any luck, this new digital entrance line with reduce the chaotic atmosphere of Friday morning, and effectively and safely usher each organization into the BJC.

Morale Committee Is Now Known As Dancer Relations

In a move that surprised many, the Morale committee, one which had retained its name since the very start of THON, was officially changed over the summer to be known as Dancer Relations. The DR Director Vicky Brauer explained, “The new name of Dancer Relations more directly reflects the committee’s purpose of serving as the primary liaison to student volunteers selected to dance for THON weekend. The name change displays the committee’s increased focus on dancer health and wellness.”

Following another big name change of the Overall Committee to the Executive Committee, the principle of Morale’s new name appears to be rooted both in clarification of its role in THON and a more general tone of professionalism. Regardless, “Dancer Relations captains to the stage!” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

Rules & Regulations Director Position Is Split Into Two

With the growth of THON in the BJC, the weekend has only witnessed an increasing amount of visitors, volunteers, and supporters each year. As a result of this expansion, the umbrella role of Rules & Regulations found it was better suited with a twofold dimensionality: Event Safety and Volunteer Safety.

New this year, the R&R Event Safety committee is responsible for ensuring the safety and security surrounding THON weekend as a whole. With a focus on the regulation and registration of visitors and events through the PASS System and floor capacity, Event Safety controls the workings of the event on a grander scale. In comparison, the Volunteer Safety faction of R&R is more focused on the participants and their safety inside the BJC. They spend the weekend making sure that everyone involved is abiding by the rulebook of THON.

Outlets In Bathrooms And On The Concourse Are Not Fair Game

If you’re planning on keeping your phone charged throughout THON, it might be best to grab a portable phone charger in the next two days — starting this year, none of the outlets throughout the BJC are able to be used by spectators.

Larry Moore’s DJing Is Replaced By The Entertainment Committee

For over 20 years, Larry Moore had been the DJ throughout THON weekend. A Penn State graduate who danced in THON himself, Moore was engrained in the history of THON, and became an integral part of the music entertainment as the years passed by. However, it was announced that for THON 2015, the Entertainment Committee is the sole provider of DJing and music throughout the weekend.

It was never explained exactly why THON directors decided to make this change — although the speculation about the price of Moore’s services was often a point of contention among those involved.

Four Diamonds Families Receive Only Three Floor Passes On Sunday

Unlike past years, where there was a bit more flexibility with Four Diamonds family members being present and on the floor during the Final Four hours, this year witnesses a limitation of three family members allowed on the floor — including the Four Diamonds child him or herself. The announcement, sent in an email over the summer, specified that the three passes must remain on the floor for the final six hours.

The change was met with quite a backlash, as those involved with THON had concerns about whether this limitation reflected the true nature of THON as revolving around the kids. In light of this, Executive Director Megan Renaut wrote and posted a letter to the THON website, clarifying that the change might place restrictions upon individual families, but will ultimately allow for a greater number of families to collectively be involved.

Pegula Ice Arena Only Open For Part Of THON Weekend

Last year, after the completion of its creation, Pegula Ice Arena was used to house supporters waiting for entry into the BJC. Due to the new digital line procedure, visitors were able to “check in” at the BJC, and then find a warm place to sit and charge their phones until there were spaces available for them inside.

However, due to the scheduling of two hockey games on Friday and Saturday nights, Pegula will only open up to capacity overflow starting at 8 a.m. on Sunday. At that point, both the building and its parking area will be available for use.

With temperatures looking to be some of the lowest in THON history, visitors will need to plan accordingly if their trip to the BJC is halted by the digital line. Bundle up, folks.

State College Will Become The “City Of THON” — Officially

Finally, as if cramming the entirety of Happy Valley into the BJC isn’t impressive enough, State College will legitimately be called City of THON from 6 p.m. on Friday to 4 p.m. on Sunday. For the full 46 hours of THON, the name of State College will represent the cause with which a great majority of its inhabitants are involved.

About the Author

Jessica Myers

Jess graduated in May 2015, with a Bachelor of Arts with honors in English, and with two minors in Latin and Art History. When she says she's "shippin' up to Boston," she's not just singing the song -- she's actually attending Northeastern University this fall to pursue her master's degree. You can follow her shenanigans at her site, http://www.jessicarmyers.com.

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