Memories In The Making: Freshmen Share First THON Experiences
THON is one of the most important aspects of Penn State culture. Students, families, and organizations come together for a righteous cause at the Bryce Jordan Center. For many students, THON is one the brightest memories that Happy Valley has to offer, so it’s no wonder that freshmen would want to be part of something so special.
Members of Penn State’s Class of 2019 are participating in their very first THON, and hope to make the most of the fun-filled weekend.
Before attending Penn State, freshman Austin Gongora, 18, was completely unaware of THON. A native of Houston, Texas, Gongora wanted to attend a college in the north with a respected engineering program. After deciding on Penn State, Gongora joined Alpha Gamma Rho and decided to participate in THON.
“I liked the idea of everyone coming together for a common goal,” Gongora explained. “I hope that every year we can raise more and more money”
Freshmen Sonia Rayka, 18, isn’t part of any THON organizations, but she stopped by the BJC to help support her friends.
“It’s a really fun and goofy environment,” Rayka said, “I knew about THON before I came to Penn State, so it was cool finally witness in person.”
Zeta Tau Alpha member and freshman Lauren Wieder, 18, heard about THON before attending Penn State but wasn’t entirely sure what it was. When she came to the BJC this afternoon, she was surprised by the large turnout.
“I’m so excited to see the last four hours,” Wieder explained. “I cannot wait to see the reactions of our graduating senior dancers. It’s going to be special.”
THON is fairly well known throughout the state of Pennsylvania, with a number of surrounding high schools holding miniature THON events. Freshman Morgan McCormick, 18, grew up in-state outside of the greater Philadelphia area and attended a school that hosted its own event. Since arriving at Penn State, she joined the THON organization Monarch, and hopes to leave a lasting impact on the organization.
“I’ve been excited to be part of THON since I knew I’d be attending Penn State,” McCormick remarked. “I’m just really excited for the final four hours when the families take the stage.”
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Garcia is the first known Penn State student to die after contracting the virus.
“We will no longer sit back and watch as the university continues to disrespect and misuse its BIPOC students.”
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