A THON In The Life Of An LT

Each year, THON captains serve as valuable leaders before, during, and after the big event takes place. They work hard to ensure THON’s annual success and are undoubtedly role models for many other volunteers. But what about those workers filling the spots beneath them?

Though arguably working a more behind-the-scenes position than a captain or dancer, LTs play a key role in leading committee members and keeping the spirits of fellow volunteers alive. Jacqueline Materna, a sophomore serving on the OPPerations Committee, gave us an inside look into what the daily life of one of these members entails.

The main goal of an LT is to assist their captains during the months leading up to THON and throughout the entire weekend. However, their role stretches beyond that; LTs are some of the primary influences when it comes to preparing committee members – physically and mentally – for the event. They also have the responsibility of temporarily snagging the committee’s main leadership position when needed.

“Our job is to keep the spirts of committee members alive and make sure that everything is running as smoothly as possible, especially if a captain is not available to directly lead the committee,” Materna said. “I think our biggest goal is to provide support, leadership, and encouragement throughout the entire THON .”

LTs engage in their fair share of tasks immediately before the actual 46-hour period, as well. There are two major tasks that students in this position face during the days right before THON, the first of which is assisting captains with something called “The Big Move.”

“The Big Move happens the Thursday before THON where we all meet at Blue Storage, located behind the Lewis Katz Building, and move all materials and supplies we’ll need throughout the weekend from the storage unit to the Bryce Jordan Center,” Materna described. After this, the storage trucks are both loaded and unloaded during pre-THON setup the next morning.

The other preparation job involves what some might view as a daunting task: setting up the Bryce Jordan Center from start to finish. The members begin this job bright and early, arriving at 5:15 a.m. to turn the Bryce Jordan Center into the vibrant atmosphere we see at THON each year. “We transform the Bryce Jordan Center by laying out and rolling mats, unloading Penske trucks to stock supply closets, and setting up pipe and drape for Dancer storage units and captain storage as well,” Materna stated.

Clearly, LTs serve as valuable workers when it comes to helping the Penn State community prepare for what is arguably its most important event. What people might not know about this position, however, is the extent of their involvement during THON’s Final Four Hours.

“Being an LT includes working the concourse for the final four hours of THON,” Materna said. “It’s such an amazing opportunity to express our sense of responsibility and to take pride in our abilities for the hard work we put in during in the months leading up to THON Weekend.”

Perhaps also unnoticed by fellow THON volunteers is the fact that LTs, like other students holding prominent volunteer positions, put THON at the top of their top of their to-do list nearly year-round.

“Being an LT is one of my top priorities and I take great pleasure in attending to what is needed for success within my committee.”

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About the Author

Claire Fountas

Claire Fountas is the student life editor for Onward State, as well as a junior pursuing a double major in journalism and psychology. She lives in a suburb of Chicago and strongly disagrees with anyone who hates the Cubs or the Blackhawks (so, pretty much anyone at Penn State). You can follow her @ClaireFountas or email her at [email protected]

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