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Remembering Tally Sepot: One Year Later

On September 27, 2015, students returning from a canning trip were involved in a one-vehicle accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike traveling westbound near King of Prussia. Of the seven passengers from Alpha Chi Omega sorority and Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, sophomore Vitalya “Tally” Sepot was pronounced dead after the vehicle overturned.

In the face of tragedy, Penn Staters found solace in unity.

Alpha Chi Omega hosted a widely-attended candlelight vigil in front of Old Main in Tally’s honor. A GoFundMe page ultimately raised more than $38,000 for her family and for her sorority sisters to wear the Alpha Chi Omega organization’s national flower to her funeral services.

Penn State students and alumni from around the world expressed condolences to Tally’s family and all those involved in the accident. You realize you’re a part of something truly special when the community around you comes together like a family, when in reality they’re practically strangers.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the accident. So where are we now?

After a yearlong effort by THON to ensure volunteer safety, students embarked on canning trips just a few days ago for the first time since the accident occurred. The organization even provided alternative transportation buses to the most popular canning locations. Students left and returned to campus safely.

Future Penn Staters won’t have the opportunity to meet Tally Sepot, and they may never know her name. They might know that canning was a part of THON’s history, but they likely won’t know or remember exactly why it was phased out.

We hope they do understand the passion Tally held for THON and for life, and they are able to experience it for themselves during their time here. We hope they live like Tally.

About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa is a junior public relations major and the managing editor of Onward State. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Send questions and comments via e-mail ([email protected]) and follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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