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Philanthropic Organizations You Can Join In Addition To THON

Ever since I began my college career, I’ve enjoyed being heavily involved in THON. Like thousands of other Penn Staters, being a part of the largest student-run philanthropy in the world is an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. But at a school as big as Penn State, there are countless other organizations that often go unnoticed amidst all the noise.

Whether you want to expand your involvement on campus, try something completely new, or become involved with a personal cause close to your heart, Penn State has plenty of options. Here’s just a few of the other philanthropic orgs on campus you might not know about:

Sisters on the Runway

SOTR is a national organization that strives to raise awareness for victims of domestic violence. Members work to raise funds for domestic violence prevention through various events on campus throughout the year, some of the most notable being Walk a Mile in Her Shoes and the SOTR Fashion Show at the end of the year.

Who it benefits: Centre County Women’s Resource Center

President: Layla Taremi

She’s the First

Penn State’s chapter of She’s the First began just last spring, but the chapter has already hosted its fair share of events such as the Bake a Change bake sale. The organization works to provide academic scholarships to girls in low-income countries with the hopes of promoting educational equality, as well as creating the chance for girls to receive the educational opportunities they might not have been able to beforehand.

Who it benefits: Various female scholars living in countries around the world

President: Paige Loyer

Swings for Soliders

Swings for Soldiers is a new organization on campus that aims to raise awareness for and provide aid to injured soldiers and veterans. The organization fundraises throughout the year, and volunteers will help host the club’s second annual charity golf tournament on April 21 as its main event of the year.

Who it benefits: Semper Pi Fund

President: Sean O’Melia


MEDLIFE is a volunteer-based organization that works to help families around the world improve their health through gaining access to health care, education, and quality medical treatment. Donations are sent to two primary funds in order to help those living in low-income countries escape from poverty.

Who it benefits: The MEDLIFE Fund and the Mission Fund

President: Isabella Sciacca

Project PAWS 

Project PAWS aims to ensure the well-being of animals around the community and raise awareness for the countless number of animals left abandoned each year. Through fundraising efforts such as the Project Paws Spring Carnival, student volunteers also hope to find homes for these animals.

Who it benefits: Centre County Paws

President: Martin Powers

Operation Smile

Operation Smile strives to raise awareness and fundraising for children born with facial deformities in low-income countries. The organization allows to student volunteers to travel to various countries in order to aid these families and to raise enough money for these children to receive proper dental care or surgery.

Who it benefits: Children around the world who lack proper dental care or were born with deformities such as cleft palate

President: Leanna Glass

Alzheimer’s Help and Awareness

Penn State’s Alzheimer’s Help and Awareness chapter promotes awareness for alzheimer’s disease, as well as raise funds for those affected. The organization also prepares for the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s in downtown State College.

Who it benefits: Walk to End Alzheimer’s

President: Andrew Graziano

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About the Author

Claire Fountas

Claire Fountas is the student life editor for Onward State, as well as a junior pursuing a double major in journalism and psychology. She lives in a suburb of Chicago and strongly disagrees with anyone who hates the Cubs or the Blackhawks (so, pretty much anyone at Penn State). You can follow her @ClaireFountas or email her at [email protected]


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