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A Guide To THON Special Interest Orgs

THON Special Interest Organizations have been an integral part of THON fundraising over the years. But what exactly are Special Interest Orgs? They’re defined as “organizations that exist solely for THON, hoping to maximize fundraising and relationships with the families helped by The Four Diamonds Fund.” There are currently 23 Special Interest Orgs that are a part of THON, and the number is growing every year.

We reached out to each of the orgs to find out a little bit about what makes them special. Although we didn’t hear back from all of them, a complete list of the Special Interest Orgs at Penn State can be found here. If your org would like to be featured, email us here.

Org name: Atlas
Year founded: 2005
Number of members: ~250-300
Number of adopted THON families: 3
Number of dancers in THON 2015: 10
Total amount raised for THON 2015: $470,347.55
Total amount raised since inception: Over $2.5 million
Colors/mascot: Hunter green, orange, and pink
Story behind your org’s name: Atlas was founded by a few students who wanted to create an open, welcoming organization for anyone that wants to get involved in THON. These students were living on the Atlas floor of Atherton Hall, and found the name especially fitting because Atlas is the name of the Greek god who held up the world, just as we attempt to make a difference in the world by ending pediatric cancer.
Fun fact about the org: A fun fact about Atlas is that the pink, fuzzy hats we are known for have a unique story behind them. Our first THON family, the Victoria Smith family, watched their first THON through the live stream, but were unable to spot our two dancers solely based off of their hunter green shirts. So Stephanie Smith, Victoria’s mom, suggested we wear pink, fuzzy hats in order to spot us from the crowd, and honor Victoria whose favorite color is pink and at the time had a blue, fuzzy hat that she loved due to the soft feeling on her head after losing her hair from treatment. Our hats have now become the symbol of Atlas!
One sentence description of your org: We’re passionate about doing all that we can FTK, as well as having fun and being as high energy as we possibly can while doing so.
Contact information for recruitment: [email protected]AtlasFTK.org

Org name: Everyday
Year founded: 2008
Number of members: 30
Number of adopted THON families: 1
Number of dancers in THON 2015: 2
Total amount raised for THON 2015: $16,972.89
Total amount raised since inception: $145,442.98
Colors/mascot: Baby blue and yellow
Story behind your org’s name: The org as whole voted on the name Everyday because we believe it represents our feelings towards THON and fundraising. We THON everyday, and the efforts do not stop once THON weekend, the year, or our time at Penn State is complete. We will THON on until there is a cure.
Fun fact about the org: Our Four Diamonds Family, The Teddy Morton Family, had the opportunity to speak during family hour for THON 2013!
One sentence description of your org: A fun loving family who enjoy bonding, laughs and raising money FTK.
Contact information for recruitment: Nick Hagan at [email protected].


Org name: A-7
Year founded: 2008
Number of members: 50-70 members
Number of adopted families: 3
Number of dancers in THON 2015: 3
Total amount raised for THON 2015: $49,872.60
Total amount raised since inception: $295,578.85
Colors/mascot: Our colors are light blue and yellow. If we were to have a mascot, it would be a whale named Larry, who we have brought as a giant blow up whale to the last couple of THONs.
Story behind your org’s name: The founding members lived on a floor in Atherton Hall, A-7, and when they decided to start a Special Interest Organization, that was the name they chose.
Fun fact about the org: We used to have an evil laser printer that was passed down from each group of executives to the next, until this summer, when he was kidnapped.
One sentence description of your org: A-7 is a small family that is fundraising big, for the kids.
Contact information for recruitment: [email protected]

Org name: Apollo
Year founded: 2011
Number of members: ~150-200
Number of adopted THON families: 3
Number of dancers in THON 2015: 8
Total amount raised for THON 2015: $157,501.18
Total amount raised since inception: $464,509.04
Colors/mascot: Official Colors are Blue and Yellow. Not really a mascot, but our motto is Never Give Up (NGU)
Story behind your org’s name: Apollo was originally named for the Greek god of healing and dance, but we’ve come to adopt the space theme since space is awesome and Apollo is awesome.
Fun fact about the org: We normally watch the movie Apollo 13 once a year since it’s the perfect combination of Never Giving Up (NGUing), cool space stuff, and Tom Hanks.
One sentence description of your org: Apollo is an org of passionate, dedicated students who work hard for THON, but know when to have fun and don’t take themselves too seriously.
Contact information for recruitment: Visit our website, www.apolloftk.org, to sign up for our email list and start hearing about our events!

Org name: Tetra
Year founded: 2013
Number of members: 40+
Number of adopted THON families: n/a
Number of dancers in THON 2015: 3
Total amount raised for THON 2015: $39,202.48
Total amount raised since inception: $82,738.95
Colors/mascot: Navy, Carolina Blue, Teal
Story behind your org’s name: “Tetra” is a root word meaning four. “For” is a common theme in THON, FOR the kids, FOR the cure, FOR the family’s etc. We thought that it was a clever play on words!
Fun fact about the org: Tetra was founded as a Youtube video making club called PSUVid. Following THON 2013, we quickly realized our true passion was THON. This led us to change our name and mission. THON 2014 was our first THON as Tetra!
One sentence description of your org: A group of fun and loving students working hard to defeat pediatric cancer.
Contact information for recruitment: [email protected]

Org name: Tri-STATE
Year founded: 2008
Number of members: Approximately 50
Number of adopted THON families: 
Number of dancers in THON 2015: 3
Total amount raised for THON 2015: So far we have raised over $7,000 this year
Total amount raised since inception: Around $325,000
Colors/mascot: Red, white, and blue
Story behind your org’s name: Once upon a time there was a group of eight close friends who wanted to make a difference. They started out small, but still very STRONG, and raised money For the Kids! Guided by the principles of Courage, Honesty, Wisdom, and Strength. The four friends from PA, two from NJ, and the two from NY became many friends that now call themselves Tri-STATE– an unstoppable force finding a cure for cancer.
Fun fact about the org: We have doubled in size since last year!
One sentence description of your org: We are a close knit group of friends that are passionate about finding a cure!
Contact information: Jesse Ruela at [email protected] or Scott Seifert at [email protected].

Org name: Springfield
Year founded: 2001
Number of members: 250
Number of adopted THON families: 3
Number of dancers in THON 2015: 8
Total amount raised for THON 2015: $270,015.49
Total amount raised since inception: $1,716,071
Colors/mascot: Red and Blue, The Springfield Spartans
Story behind your org’s name: Springfield was born as the first THON Special Interest Organization, setting the stage for numerous other organizations created for the primary purpose of participating in THON.
Fun fact about the org: Every year, many of our male members (and even a few females!) shave their heads in honor of THON weekend.
One sentence description of your org: A group of welcoming, passionate people dedicated to supporting THON’s mission while having an amazing time along the way.
Contact information for recruitment: Check out our new website, Springfieldftk.org or email us at [email protected]!

Org name: Futures
Year founded: 2005
Number of members: 70
Number of adopted THON families: 3
Number of dancers in THON 2015: 3
Total amount raised for THON 2015: $34,641.44
Total amount raised since inception: $140,467
Colors/mascot: Blue and Purple
Story behind your org’s name: Futures was originally FutuRES because until 2012 the organization was mainly Residence Assistants. The organization began to grow outside of the res-life community at this time and the name was changed to Futures. We are Futures because we fight for the kids, for their futures!
Fun fact about the org: One of our members, David Gaines, won THON’s Got Talent at THON 2015!
One sentence description of your org: We are one of the fastest growing organizations, but at the the same time strive to keep the family-like atmosphere that makes Futures so special.
Contact information for recruitment: [email protected]

Org name: Pillar
Year founded: 2008
Number of members: About 100
Number of adopted THON families: 2
Number of dancers in THON 2015: 8
Total amount raised for THON 2015: $88,797.81
Total amount raised since inception: $600,924.85
Colors/mascot: Purple and Yellow
Story behind your org’s name: Our founders wanted a name that embodied the support that we give to the Four Diamonds families all year long, so they chose Pillar!
Fun fact about the org: Pillar’s first meetings took place outside the elevators in Tener Hall!
One sentence description of your org: Pillar is a close-knit family that is extremely passionate about THON and our two amazing Four Diamonds families.
Contact information for recruitment: [email protected]

Org name: INFINITY
Year founded: 2011
Number of members: 30-40
Number of adopted THON families: 1
Number of dancers in THON 2015: 2
Total amount raised for THON 2015: about $14,000
Total amount raised since inception: about $67,000
Colors/mascot: Green and purple
Story behind your org’s name: We will keep fighting for the kids until there is a cure and infinity never ends
One sentence description of your org: We are a small group who doesn’t put pressure to raise money for THON but just has a good time doing it
Contact information for recruitment: [email protected]

Org name: Ayuda
Year founded: 2011
Number of members: 35
Number of adopted THON families: 1
Number of dancers in THON 2015: 2
Total amount raised for THON 2015: $27,593.57
Total amount raised since inception: $94,465.19
Colors/mascot: Orange, to promote leukemia awareness
Story behind your org’s name: Our founders believed that THON was about being there to help those in their time of need. Whether it’s being there for the kids, for their parents, or anybody else.
Fun fact about the org: We actually don’t speak Spanish
One sentence description of your org: “Ayuda is a great place to meet a lot of new friends but not get lost in a crowd” – Everyone
Contact information for recruitment: Kyle Bennison at [email protected] or Cody Meckes at [email protected].


Org name: Common
Year founded: 2013
Number of members: 10-15
Number of adopted THON families: 1
Number of dancers in THON 2015: 2
Total amount raised for THON 2015: $33,538.96
Total amount raised since inception: $70,424.70
Colors/mascot: Pink, Yellow, Purple
Story behind your org’s name: Our name “Common” stems from “commonwealth campus” because we’re an org created for and by commonwealth campus transfer students! It also represents all of our members having a “common” goal: conquering childhood cancer!
Fun fact about the org: The mom of our Four Diamonds Family, Wendy, donated her hair on stage during THON weekend 2015!
One sentence description of your org: A place where commonwealth campus transfers can feel like they belong, while raising money FTK
Contact information for recruitment: [email protected]

 

Org name: Bee House
Year founded: 2009
Number of members: 60
Number of adopted THON families: 1
Number of dancers in THON 2015: 3
Total amount raised for THON 2015: $46,125.70
Total amount raised since inception: $178, 597.88
Colors/mascot: Black/Yellow/Grey; Bumble Bee
Story behind your org’s name: Of the many Special Living Options (SLO) offered by Penn State, Be Engaged House (BE House) holds a special place in the history of this organization. Founded on a principle of leadership, service, and social justice, this SLO encourages first-year students to “BE a volunteer, BE a leader, and BE the change.” After living together on the Be Engaged House floor, a small group of freshmen students branched out and founded the Bee House Special Interest Organization in the fall of 2009.
Fun fact about the org: We have nothing to do with Bees!
One sentence description of your org: Bee House is a small, close-knit organization full of passionate students that want to make a difference in the life of a child.
Contact information for recruitment: Alex Lettieri (Bee House President) – [email protected]


 

Org name: FOTO
Year founded: 2009
Number of members: About 150
Number of adopted THON families: 2
Number of dancers in THON 2015: 7
Total amount raised for THON 2015: $100,639.49
Total amount raised since inception: $515,040.69
Colors/mascot: We do not have a mascot but our color is “FOTO Blue” if you go to our website www.fotoftk.org – the background is FOTO blue!
Story behind your org’s name: Our founder Adam Fountaine, founded the org in honor of his brother Tommy Fountaine who beat pediatric cancer and is actually now a pediatric oncologist. Tommy was nicknamed TOFO in high school (his initials) and Adam simply switched this around to sound more appealing, and thus FOTO was born!
Fun fact about the org: FOTO’s slogan is FOTO is family, which is what sets us apart as a SI org, we are committed to not only the fight against pediatric cancer but also giving our members a second family at Penn State that they can always count on.
One sentence description of your org: The mission of FOTO is to give all Penn State students the opportunity to join together as one in the FOTO family to inspire and be inspired in the fight against pediatric cancer by fundraising, raising awareness and providing hope and support to each other and Four Diamonds families.
Contact information for recruitment: Contact [email protected] and check out our website www.fotoftk.org under members there is a “join now” tab!

***
We dance in 109!

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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