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THON Director Thursday: Meet Public Relations Director Sam Sherlock

Name: Sam Sherlock

Major: Enterprise Risk Management

Committee: Public Relations

Past THON Experience:

PR Committee Member (THON 2014)

PR Captain (THON 2015)

Entertainment Captain (THON 2016)

PR Director (THON 2017)

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

I have never eaten fast food!

What made you want to apply for the PR Director position for THON 2017?

From the second I got involved with THON my freshman year, I fell in love with our mission and all those who take part in it. THON has continuously taught me that time spent doing for others is always the time best spent, and pure happiness is found in giving and sharing the gifts you have to offer to better the world around you. I knew that serving as the Public Relations Director for THON was the best way for me to do this because I would be able to combine both my passion and skillset to make a difference. I believe we all have the power to make a hugely positive impact on the world. I strive to utilize my platform as a member of the Executive Committee to make sure that THON volunteers continue to realize that potential within themselves and each other. As the Public Relations Director, I am honored to be an ambassador of this organization and our mission of eradicating childhood cancer. There are few things I love more than communicating the beauty and magic of THON to those who have not experienced it before.

What are your responsibilities as the PR Director?

Though the responsibilities of my position vary with each day, I essentially serve to spread awareness for THON’s mission on a local, state, and national level. These efforts are aimed at raising awareness for childhood cancer and inspiring the public to join Penn State students in their pursuit of a cure. I lead a Captain Committee of 25 dedicated individuals, each with their own responsibilities that include Social Media, Graphic Design, Media Relations, Production, and much more. My team and I promote THON’s mission by aiming to expand our reach on a national level, while continuing to ensure our current donors, supporters, and volunteers remain informed.

What do you want to implement in your position this year that’s unique and differs from years past?

One thing I really want to focus on in particular is finding the story in all the different facets of our organization. Each and every stakeholder of THON has a story – why they are involved, who they THON for, how they work to make a difference. These stories are so important to share because they inspire others to take part in our mission as well. Most importantly, they provide hope for families battling childhood cancer. When I think about our theme this year, I believe that these stories show what ignites hope within those touched by THON.

What makes the PR committee so cool, fun, and/or important?

The PR committee is extremely dynamic. Each of my 25 Captains plays a very important role in spreading our mission and each does so in such different ways. Some of these things include pitching national press outlets, designing graphics, creating captivating videos, capturing the beauty of THON in a photograph, running engaging social media campaigns, developing our brand by improving our website and live stream, and so much more. Six of these captains lead committees, which include Photography, Production, and Promotions.

What are the overall goals you hope to reach with your committee for THON 2017?

Every year, all aspects of THON have room for growth and improvement in order to move our organization forward to a successful future. For Public Relations specifically, I intend to focus on maintaining and improving our relationships with all of THON’s stakeholders, whether they be Captains, Committee Members, THON Chairs, org members, the press, donors, alumni, and supporters nationwide. By focusing on improving our internal communication, external outreach efforts, and brand messaging, we can effectively target all of THON’s stakeholders, pursue progress for years to come, and spread our mission further than ever before.

Why do you THON?

With each day, my answer to this question expands. There are so many reasons, but I will try to explain it in just a few sentences. I have two younger brothers and five little cousins. They are simply my whole world, and I am so grateful to have been able to watch them grow up healthy and happy. It breaks my heart to know that not every family has the same blessings as mine. I work every day to ensure that no family has to endure the heartbreak and the pain that childhood cancer imposes on so many. I THON for my future children and hope that they will have the opportunity to grow up and experience all the joys of life, just as every child deserves to. I THON for the children who have had life taken from them far too soon – I hope that the work I accomplish each day honors them and their families. I constantly am thinking about them, and hope they always know how much they are loved and supported by the THON community.

What’s your favorite THON memory?

My favorite THON memory was having the opportunity to bring my younger brother onto the floor with me during THON Weekend last year. Since he was a freshman, it was his first time seeing THON and to witness the joy on his face was simply priceless to me. I am so grateful to have him here with me at Penn State and it makes me happy knowing that he strives to make a difference in this organization as well as a member of the Crowd Entertainment Committee and as a THON Chair for Club Basketball.

Per Onward State tradition, if you could be any dinosaur, which one would you be and why?

I think I’d rather be a dog instead – way cuter!

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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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