THON Director Thursday: Meet Dancer Relations Director Alanna Figurelli

Although it’s only October, we’re already counting down to the first performance of the THON 2017 Line Dance. After all, THON is just 127 days away. The third installment of our THON Director Thursday series is here, and it’s time to meet Dancer Relations Director Alanna Figurelli:


Name: Alanna Figurelli

Committee: Dancer Relations

Major: Marketing


Past THON Experience:

Family Relations Chair for the Men’s & Women’s Club Lacrosse Team, Morale Committee Member, Family Relations Captain, Dancer Relations Captain, Dancer Relations Director

Name an interesting, weird, or quirky fact about yourself:

I’m pretty unlucky in the fact that I’ve been hit by a moving vehicle twice.

What made you want to apply for the Dancer Relations Director position for THON 2017?
As a Dancer Relations Captain, I had an in-depth look at a totally different side of THON that I hadn’t been directly focusing on my past couple years as a volunteer. Spending the year enhancing the dancer and DRCM experience was very rewarding. It provided me with an alternate opportunity to impact the families indirectly. For this Committee, I had visions for DR’s future by incorporating new ideas to the Committee’s structure. I’ve dreamt of serving on the Executive Committee so that I could become a more integral part of the leading, planning, and discussion that goes into the magic that happens throughout the year, so that I could see the smile of a child who has taught me some of life’s most important lessons, and so that I could give back even just a piece of what these kids and this organization has given me.

What are your responsibilities as the Dancer Relations Director?
As the Dancer Relations Director, I oversee the Dancer Relations Committee and all that we do to educate Committee Members and the community on interacting with dancers and their safety. I also oversee the pre-THON and THON Weekend experiences for the dancers, to ensure they are receiving all the information they need and are prepared when it comes time to stand 46 hours for children and families battling pediatric cancer. Throughout the year, the Dancer Relations Committee is constantly reassessing all of our practices, procedures, and everything we do to ensure the utmost safety and well-being of the dancers THON Weekend.

What do you want to implement in your position this year that’s unique and differs from years past?
In the past, only the Dancer Relations Committee has been educated on how to interact with and take care of dancers THON Weekend. This year, this information needs to be spread to everyone inside the BJC. Almost all student volunteers and pass holders will interact with a dancer THON Weekend. There are many methods and information you should be aware of to help them throughout the weekend. Other things my Captain Committee and I would like to bring to THON 2017 are more effective ways to make announcements and get information to dancers THON Weekend, other than the usual stage announcement over the microphone.

What makes the Dancer Relations committee so cool, fun, and/or important?
The Dancer Relations Committee is a great way to get students engaged with THON. It is a very exciting Committee Member position, simply because you’re paired with a dancer. The Dancer Relations Committee is unique in the fact that while we also plan and execute many events throughout the year, we also prepare to ensure the safety and well-being of every dancer. Your dancer is your own tangible and visible impact that students are able to make on the families.

What are the overall goals you hope to reach with your committee for THON 2017?
With my Captain Committee, I hope to re-evaluate dancer safety in all of our procedures, events, and utilities we provide for dancers. Another goal of ours is to enhance the way we educate the community on interacting with dancers, whether it’s dancers’ family and friends, student organization members, other Captains and Committee Members, or general pass holders. Lastly, we are keying in and focusing on better methods of educating and preparing Dance Relations Committee Members for being responsible for a dancer leading up to and including THON Weekend.

Why do you THON?
Words are not enough to share the reality of the miracles I have experienced through this organization. The journey with cancer seems dark, but some families say their most memorable moments have come from their involvement with THON. This is why I THON. Knowing that we are bringing just a speck of light to that journey makes pouring every minute of my time into this organization so rewarding. Nothing makes me more proud to know that I have been a fundamental part of that light, along with over 16,500 Penn State student volunteers.

What’s your favorite THON memory?
When I was a Family Relations Captain, one of the family contacts I was paired with was not very responsive to my emails or phone calls. I reached out regularly to check up on them, update them on THON, and send them registrations for events throughout the year. That THON Weekend, I was approached by a family I had never met before. They came right up to me and each gave me giant hugs. I was confused because I didn’t know who they were. Once they told me who they were, they apologized for rarely getting back to me because of their busy schedules, but told me just how much they appreciated every phone call, voicemail, text message, and email. It made me realize that even the smallest thing you do can make a difference to a family. Even when you don’t feel like you’re making a difference, you could be making a huge impact.

Per Onward State tradition, if you could be any dinosaur, which one would you be and why?
A brontosaurus, because they didn’t eat people.

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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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