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THON Director Thursday: Meet OPP Director Olivia Rothseid

Name: Olivia Rothseid
Committee: OPPerations

Major: Biobehavioral Health

Past THON Experience:

2014 OPPerations Committee Member, 2015 OPPerations Captain, 2016 OPPerations Captain
Name an interesting, weird, or quirky fact about yourself:
I drive a Zamboni at Pegula.
What made you want to apply for the OPP Director position for THON 2017?
I have loved my past three years on OPP and wanted to use my experience to help the committee that I adore so much. The behind the scenes and physical labor aspects as well as the constant dedication to the wellbeing of our volunteers and families is what drew me to OPP in the first place. I wanted to apply for Director so that I help to provide future OPP Committee Members and Captains with the experiences I have had.
What are your responsibilities as the OPP Director?
I lead the OPPerations Captain Committee, whose mission is to keep all pre-­THON and THON Weekend events safe and healthy for all of our our volunteers, spectators, and the Four Diamonds Families. Throughout the year, we work together, with our collective 770 Committee Members, and the Bryce Jordan Center staff to logistically plan and execute the Set Up, Tear Down, and maintenance of all pre-THON events and THON Weekend.
What do you want to implement in your position this year that’s unique and differs from years past?
This year, the OPPerations committee is continuing our focus on training our Committee Members in addition to emphasizing THON’s overall sustainability initiative. The OPPerations committee is responsible for THON’s recycling and sustainability efforts throughout the year. This year, we are working on furthering our sustainability efforts to every THON committee with the end result of making THON a zero-waste organization.
What makes the OPP committee so cool, fun, and/or important?
The two best things about OPP are the work and the people involved. OPP is fantastic because the work is a tangible representation of how you are impacting THON and the Four Diamonds Families. In addition, OPP Captains and Committee Members all exemplify “First In, Last Out” in everything that they do! The dedication on OPP is definitely the coolest thing about the committee.
What are the overall goals you hope to reach with your committee for THON 2017?
My goal for OPP is to have an outstanding impact on THON 2017 and all THONs after. Through our work this year, we will be laying the groundwork for future THONs to be more sustainable in waste and in practices as well as more efficient and safe in all manners.
Why do you THON?
I THON so that one day, we won’t have to. I THON to give families a source of emotional and financial security through both happy and difficult times; to be a helping hand, an extended family, and a constant support system. I THON to provide well-deserved childhoods to incredible children unfairly affected by cancer.
What’s your favorite THON memory?
My first THON as a captain, I was carrying a ton of trash bags to refill the bottom of the bins on the event level. I was stopped by a Four Diamonds mom, who asked me for a spoon for her daughter’s pudding cup. I asked them to wait where they were and I ran to go get them one. When I came back, the mom thanked me and I thought nothing else of it; it was just a spoon. Then, she proceeded to thank me for everything else that THON has done for her daughter. She introduced me to her and told me about how she was diagnosed with a stage 4 neuroblastoma. Her family thought they had no hope — until they heard about THON. Because of the work that we do, this beautiful little girl’s life was saved. This moment was a clear example to me of how everything we do, even down to the smallest action, has an impact on these families.
Per Onward State tradition, if you could be any dinosaur, which one would you be and why?
I would be a brontosaurus for two reasons. The first is that they were so large and look so intimidating, but they were herbivores. The second is that their name translates to “Thunder Lizard.”

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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