THON Director Thursday: Eric Pohle, Merchandise
Everyone involved in THON knows of its talented core of Executive Committee members, but those prestigious titles can sometimes make it hard for the Penn State community to actually get to know them. Therefore, we’re sitting down with each and every THON 2016 Director to better understand who they are and what they do. In case you missed it, last week we introduced Dancer Relations Director JT Malorgio. This week features Merchandise Director, Eric Pohle.
Eric Pohle, Merchandise
Major(s)/Minor(s): Accounting, International Business, and Economics
Past THON Experience: Merchandise Committee Member from 2013-2014 and Merchandise Distribution Captain in 2015
Interesting/Weird/Quirky Fact About You: My face is in a mural outside the student section at Pegula.
Onward State: What made you want to apply for the director position?
Eric Pohle: After three years on Merchandise, I wanted to devote my senior year to giving as much back as I could. THON has given me so much, and I feel like I owe it to THON to give back everything I could this year.
OS: What are the responsibilities of your position?
EP: My biggest responsibility is overseeing the THON store. The store just opened, so it is my job to make sure that everything is running smoothly and that my captains are comfortable in their positions. I am also responsible for ordering new products: the 100 Days’ shirts, on-shift shirts, helping protect THON’s brand by overseeing licensing, and coming up with new ways to market the THON store. Merchandise is a way that people can show their support for THON on a day-to-day basis, and it’s my job to make sure that people are able to do that.
OS: What do you want to implement in your position this year that’s unique and differs from years past?
EP: Since the store is so new, I want to set a solid foundation for the THON store this year. My big focus is helping my captains come up with new products and keep people coming back to the store. THON has offered a lot of the same products for the last few years, so I want to change our product line and make coming into the store an enjoyable experience for all of our customers. Customer service is really important in retail, and I want to make sure that everybody who comes in is treated well and wants to come back.
OS: What you think makes your committee so cool/fun/important?
EP: No other student-run organization (that I know of) has a physical retail store on their campus, so that is a really unique aspect of our committee. As mentioned above, merchandise is one way for people to show their support for THON daily, and it’s really cool to see people walking around campus in shirts they bought in the store.
OS: What are the overall goals you wish to reach within your specific position/committee?
EP: My big goals are setting a foundation for the THON store that my successors can build off of. I want to make the THON store a destination, not a spot that people just wander into. I also want to introduce a lot of new products that change the product mix that THON offers. With a store, we have the opportunity to offer more than just clothing, so I want to work on expanding our product base. In terms of committee goals, a lot of my committee positions are new, so I want my captains to take ownership of their positions and create a solid foundation for their positions.
OS: Why do you THON?
EP: I THON because I firmly believe that every child deserves a childhood. I was fortunate enough to have a childhood that I fully remember and that was generally carefree, for both me and my parents. Not every child has that opportunity, and if I can help them in anyway by volunteering my spare time, then I will. THON is about giving kids happy memories from their childhood, and it is truly special to be a part of that.
OS: What is your favorite THON memory?
EP: My favorite THON memory was my first THON when I saw dancers stand for the first time. For months I had heard about what THON was like, but you cannot truly understand it until you experience it. Having the opportunity to be there when the dancers stood and watch as the Bryce Jordan Center filled up was amazing.
OS: Finally, if you could be any dinosaur, which one would you be and why?
EP: I would be a Raptor because even though I’d be extinct, at least I’d have a basketball team named after me.