10 Questions With Homecoming Executive Director Katie Gasior
Although Homecoming 2016 seems far away, its planning is already in in the works. We sat down with the new Homecoming Executive Director, Katie Gasior to learn about “Old State Inspiring New Beginnings” and her first few months on the job:
Onward State: As the new Homecoming Executive Director, what do you think you can improve upon from the previous year?
Katie Gasior: While there isn’t any one specific thing that I would like to change, I think that we can and should always work to refine and enhance every event. I’d like to facilitate any changes that would improve the experience of Homecoming at all levels of involvement. I want everyone, from the very involved and dedicated volunteers and organizations to visiting alumni and their families, to have the absolute best experience they can throughout Homecoming.
OS: How did you get involved in Homecoming? Any tips for students looking to get involved?
KG: Aside from attending all the fun events that it held throughout the year, I wasn’t directly involved with Homecoming as an underclassman. Some of my closest friends were incredibly involved, and their passion for this organization made me feel like I was really missing out by standing on the sidelines. I decided that I needed to become more actively involved, so I applied for a Pride Events Captain position this past spring. For anyone looking to get involved, please come to the office and ask any of the directors about their experiences! We would love to talk to you and give you some insight into what we do and help you decide if it’s something you’d be interested in. We will be releasing committee member applications soon. Keep an eye out for them to go live!
OS: What is your favorite part of Homecoming weekend?
KG: Homecoming Week is one of my favorite times of the year. I love so many things about that weekend, but my favorite thing is seeing how many people come back to reunite with old friends year after year. It’s an incredible display of loyalty to and love for this university, and it’s a reminder that I made the best choice when I decided to earn my degree at Penn State.
OS: Are you involved in anything else outside of Homecoming?
KG: Outside of Homecoming, I’ve been very involved with THON since my freshman year. I was a Moraler for 2 years before I decided to apply for captain positions. I was a Special Events Captain for THON 2015, and this year I was a Public Relations Captain for THON 2016.
OS: What is your favorite memory from your time at Penn State?
KG: I have a million and one individual memories, but when I think of my time at Penn State I think about the people I’ve met here and am so thankful that they came into my life. While there have been ups and downs throughout my time here, I wouldn’t change anything about the experiences I’ve had because they’ve all led me exactly where I’m meant to be.
OS: What was your initial reaction when you found out you had been named Executive Director?
KG: It was definitely an “oh my gosh is this serious?” moment for me, and it took me some time to process that it was really happening. After I got through that initial shock, I was so excited and all I wanted to do was tell my best friend and my family that I had gotten the position.
OS: What has been the most rewarding part about being involved in the Homecoming Committee?
KG: Being involved in Homecoming has allowed many opportunities for growth and relationship building. Not only have I been able to finely tune some of my professional skills, I’ve had to work through hiccups in event planning that have taught me the importance of rolling with the punches. I really value creating new connections and meeting new people, which I’ve also had the opportunity to do through Homecoming.
OS: What was your first official act as executive director?
KG: The first thing that I did after I became Executive Director was edit and release the application for the Homecoming Executive Committee! It was exciting to know that I would be getting applications and scheduling interviews for the new committee so soon.
OS: If you had a creamery ice cream flavor named after you, what would it be?
KG: Honestly I live for cones of Death by Chocolate so if they renamed it after me, I wouldn’t hate it.
OS: If you were a dinosaur, which one would you be and why?
KG: Ask any one of my friends and they’ll tell you that I’m a hugger, so I’m going to go with pterodactyl so I could wrap everyone up in my wings.