THON Director Thursday: Meet Supply Logistics Director Eileen Seitz
Name: Eileen Seitz
Major: Elementary Education
Committee: Supply Logistics
Past THON Experience:
THON 2014 Moraler
THON 2015 Family Relations Captain
THON 2016 Hospitality Captain
THON 2017 Supply Logistics Director
Name an interesting, weird, or quirky fact about yourself:
I have five older sisters and one younger brother. My brother will be the fifth Seitz attending Penn State in the Fall!
What made you want to apply for the Supply Logistics Director position for THON 2017?
Five years ago I started a Mini-THON in my hometown, Bethlehem, PA. I woke up at 8 a.m. the next morning after the event ended with over $23,000 raised and thought, “I need to go to Penn State and immerse myself in THON as much as I possibly can.” Applying for a director position allowed me to give everything I have For The Kids during my final year at Penn State.
I was drawn to Supply Logistics specifically because of the unique opportunity to interact with donors around the country that are committed to donating such obscure items. These obscure items directly impact our ability to give as much money to the Four Diamonds as possible. SL’s mission [is] to keep costs low so THON does not have to spend money on hundreds of supplies. I felt determined and drawn to leading a group of people that are able to interact with various donors and every other THON Committee. Supply Logistics is responsible for ensuring that THON continues to run efficiently at every event and I knew my passion and drive could help the Committee reach it’s full potential.
What are your responsibilities as the Supply Logistics Director?
As the Supply Logistics Director I am in charge of overseeing all in-kinds donations for Pre-THON Events, THON Weekend, and on an individual committee basis. I have specific donors that I work with to ensure that all of THON’s printing needs and unique projects are taken care of. I help lead an amazing group of 19 dedicated captains. I have 11 captains who serve as donor contacts, responsible for contacting hundreds of donors across the country to obtain various supply requests. They call and email upwards of 25 donors weekly, striving to get these vital supplies 100% donated. I also have another group of five captains that serve as Inventory Liaisons. They help oversee our three storage areas on campus. They are responsible for the organization and sustainability of thousands of supplies. They work with every single committee to ensure that they receive the supplies they need for each event and come up with creative alternatives if we do not have it in storage. Lastly, I have two captains dedicated to expanding and implementing the THON Raffle — THON’s largest alternative fundraiser. We host raffle sales throughout the year and raise thousands of dollars that go directly to THON’s total!
What do you want to implement in your position this year that’s unique and differs from years past?
This year I strived to increase awareness of the Supply Logistics Committee while expanding our initiatives within the committee. I want the THON community to have a more holistic view of SL and understand that they are able to make a direct impact on the Four Diamonds and the children at Hershey by donating supplies or their time to the Committee. This year, we received over 200 toys for the Hershey Holiday Toy Drive. These toys were delivered to Four Diamonds children in Hershey. Committee members, organization members, and all other volunteers were able to make an impact on not only making a child smile, but also the SL Committee as a whole. Beyond this, we received hundreds of supplies from volunteers during our Operation K.I.D.S. (Kids Inpsiring Donation Success) drive. These supplies directly affected our ability to save as much money as possible throughout this year. Expanding upon these initiatives has allowed us to keep costs low for our little heroes.
What makes the Supply Logistics committee so cool, fun, and/or important?
The SL Committee interacts with dedicated donors ranging from independent stores in State College to corporations in California. We get to see first hand the support THON has around the country and how dedicated people are For The Kids. From the donation of Dancer Bags from Oregon to trash bags from Illinois and Florida, it’s incredible to see THON spreading across the country in such a unique way. It is truly inspiring to receive donations year after year from donors who have never even had the chance to make it to THON Weekend. Through this interaction we are able to see how big the support system for childhood cancer patients really is. SL is also unique in the fact that we interact and have liaisons with every single other THON committee to help make their events as successful as possible
Something fun is that we keep track of every single supply that belongs to THON and get to see how something small, like a bottle of bubbles, secured from a donor in New York, can make a child smile from ear to ear at the THON 5K, Family Carnival, and THON Weekend.
SL is essential because it is the behind the scenes work that makes THON events possible. It is a unique perspective because we collect in-kind donations that people don’t even notice are necessary. For example, the runner numbers for the 5K, the logo banner that hangs behind the stage during THON Weekend, all medical supplies for the 700+ dancers, and even the chemicals and cleaning products used by OPPerations.
What are the overall goals you hope to reach with your committee for THON 2016?
This year I focused on 3 main goals within the Supply Logistics Committee. First, I strived to make sure that our storage areas were being accurately tracked and organized to their full potential so we could better allocate supplies and help make THON more sustainable. Secondly, I wanted to ensure that each captain position was being utilized at its full potential with expanding projects such as the THON Raffle, Operation K.I.D.S, and the Hershey Holiday Toy Drive. Lastly, I wanted to implement a larger focus on retaining and benefitting our donors to create mutually beneficial relationships that could impact both THON and our generous donors for years to come.
Why do you THON?
Build something that outlives you. Five words. Five words that continually impact how I strive to live each day because of the incredibly beautiful and inspiring children I have met over these past five years. Striving to “build something that outlives you” is the foundation of hope and makes anything possible. I THON in the memory of the children who are now angels among us, the children who fight day in and day out, and the children who have won their battle. I THON to protect the childhood of future generations, with the relentless determination that one day we will be dancing in celebration of a cure. I THON so that every single child can have a happy and healthy childhood filled with playgrounds, classrooms, dance lessons, baseball games, and the list goes on. I THON for the laughter and smiles that prevail during these challenging times. I THON to be a support system for the families who need us in their corner. I THON for the day when no family has to hear the heart-wrenching words, “Your child has cancer.”
What’s your favorite THON memory?
Five years ago I met a family at the Bethlehem Area School District Mini-THON. We quickly became close after making up dance moves together, piggyback rides, and water gun fights. At the time, this family was not a Four Diamonds family. During my freshman year at Penn State, I learned that they became a Four Diamonds family and were being treated at Hershey. For the past four years, I have been granted the most special gift of all — being able to watch these children grow up. Each time I see them, they look a little bit older and taller. I look forward to seeing how much they’ve grown at each event, whether it’s at the 5K, Family Carnival or THON Hoops. I love hearing their new stories about scoring a goal during their latest soccer game or how their most recent dance recital went. The most joyous times in my life have been hearing what these children have been up to. We dream of a day when every single child will have a full childhood. Being able to see this beautiful childhood unfold in front of me over these past few years has been something I cannot put into words. The Coykendall Family will forever hold a very special place in my heart and will always remind me of why I THON.
Per Onward State tradition, if you could be any dinosaur, which one would you be and why?
I looked up “nicest dinosaurs” and I found that the Chaoyangsaurus was only three feet long, only ate plants and seeds, and could also swim. I would be the Chaoyangsaurus so I could be nice to other animals and swim all day!