THON Director Thursday: Katie Kavanaugh, Donor & Alumni Relations, Development
The road to THON 2016 is finally down to its last month, and dancers from organizations and clubs are officially being chosen to represent their respectful groups during the big weekend in February. That being said, Thursday is here again, and we’re back to bring you the latest feature on the 2016 Executive Committee.
Last week’s profile highlighted Entertainment Director Austin Sommerer. Our Director series resumes with Katie Kavanaugh, the Donor & Alumni Relations Development Director.
Katie Kavanaugh, Donor & Alumni Relations (DAR), Development
Year: Fifth-year Senior
Majors: Public Relations and Journalism
Minors: Health Policy and Administration and Human Development and Family Studies
Past THON Experience: 2012 Communications Committee Member, 2013 DAR Committee Member, 2014 DAR Captain, 2015 DAR Captain
Name an interesting, weird, or quirky fact about you: I’m obsessed with my dog, Hunter. He’s a three-year-old yellow lab and the best Christmas present the Kavanaugh family has ever seen.
Onward State: What made you want to apply for the DAR Development Director position for THON 2016?
Katie Kavanaugh: I wanted to apply to be on the Executive Committee because I saw this as opportunity to give back to an organization that has given me so much. THON has shaped my Penn State experience in such a positive way and has allowed me to create some of my best friendships and memories through doing something that I love. I applied for this position so that I could help THON grow for the future and continue to work alongside students to make a difference in our community.
OS: What are your responsibilities as the Development Director within the Donor & Alumni Relations committee?
KK: I am responsible for building and maintaining relationships with THON’s monetary donors, including individuals and companies through solicitation, stewardship, and retention efforts. I also work with student organizations to help them fundraise effectively throughout the year. I plan and execute a lot different fundraising initiatives and work with the University to plan mail campaigns as well as overseeing THONvelopes and benefitting.
OS: What do you want to implement in your position this year that’s unique and differs from years past?
KK: This year is a huge year for DAR as a whole, so I’m hoping to lay the groundwork for the way Development and Alumni Engagement work together for the future and how they can both continue to grow hand in hand.
OS: What do you think makes DAR Development so cool, fun, and/or important?
KK: Development is a completely growth-focused committee, which a really cool opportunity for captains and committee members to be able to make an impact on THON and the future of our organization. This committee plays a direct role in THON’s fundraising efforts and gets to interact with some of THON’s most generous donors and supporters.
OS: What are the overall goals you wish to reach within your position and committee for THON 2016?
KK: I’m really focused on making DAR a sustainable committee. I’ve been working to find the most efficient and effective ways to do things as a committee as well as looking for opportunities for my committee to work with other committees, like Alumni Engagement. I think we have a lot of potential to spread THON’s mission even further than in years past so I’m hoping to continue to build THON’s professional reputation across the country.
OS: Why do you THON, Katie?
KK: I THON because as a community, we are making a tangible impact on the fight against childhood cancer. It is an honor to be a part of this fight with so many dedicated and passionate volunteers every day, and I THON so that one day we can dance in celebration of a cure.
OS: Can you tell us about your favorite THON memory?
KK: It’s hard to pick just one, but among them all, my favorite would definitely be the start of THON 2014 when the dancers stood. I was standing with my co-captains on the floor and it was incredible to experience the first few minutes of the official start of THON Weekend, something we had been working toward all year.
OS: Finally, an Onward State tradition. If you could be any dinosaur, which one would you be and why?
KK: Pterodactyl – who wouldn’t want to fly?