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What Goes Into Creating THON Org Letters

Among all of the awesome sights at THON, there’s few more eye-catching than the giant letters the orgs show off all weekend.

These signs are constructed every year by participating organizations. They’re big, colorful, and some even light up, but there’s work to be done to make these signs a reality. Though a majority of the letters in the lower level are Greek, orgs of all shapes and sizes advertise their section by with foam, cardboard, paint, and glitter.

When making a sign to represent your org, deciding on a theme is the first step. Many of the Greek letters scattered across the vibrant Bryce Jordan Center arena represent the particular theme that fraternity and sorority are presenting. Some of these themes were picked specifically for their THON child, just like Zeta Tau Alpha and Alpha Tau Omega, according to their THON chair Natalie Maier.

Zeta Tau Alpha and Alpha Tau Omega THON Letters

“Our youngest child, Kai, is undergoing treatment and he loves superheroes, and we thought that’d be a really great theme,” Maier said.

Along with the theme, orgs need to find time to create these signs, whether that be one person, a small group, or the whole lot. The time span to create the signs ranges from a couple hours to a few days. Sigma Delta Tau and Delta Sigma Phi had a group work together on the project, THON chair Kailyn Gomez said. Gomez noted they had all of their THON chairs work alongside some new members to create their “Rocky” letters.

Sturdy materials are also a must in creating the vibrant signs. Some orgs, like Alpha Delta Pi and Theta Delta Chi, got their materials from a local Home Depot and started from scratch. Common materials include styrofoam, isolation, and, obviously, paint.

THON Org Letters012

For the signs that light up, including Alpha Delta Pi and Theta Delta Chi, lights were ordered, stapled onto the signs, and are powered by a battery pack. In the process of creating these signs, however, the orgs can run into problems. Leah Wittgenstein and her org Alpha Sigma Alpha and Lambda Chi Alpha expressed the challenges behind the signs.

“It took us about six and a half hours for four days because we kept messing up, changing our minds, and Lambda Chi has a goat,” Wittgenstein said. “The goat was trying to eat them, the fabrics weren’t sticking, the spray paint we used ate away at the letters, and we had to make about ten trips to Jo-Ann’s.”

As you can see there’s a lot that goes into making THON signs. Whether its deciding a theme, creating the signs, or fending off sign-hungry goats, every org puts a lot of effort into its product. One look around the BJC will show, however, that it’s well worth it.

About the Author

Jacob Abrams

Jacob Abrams is a sophomore from Oxford, PA, majoring in Management in the Smeal College of Business. Jacob is the President/GM of The LION 90.7 FM along with being a play-by-play commentator and sports talk show host. He is a sports fanatic, and strongly supports the Philadelphia Phillies, Flyers, Sixers, and the New Orleans Saints. He is a first-generation Penn Stater, and in his free time he likes to play sports and sing. You can follow him on Twitter @jake_abrams and contact him at [email protected]


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