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THON Director Thursday: Meet Finance Director Erin Thompson

Name: Erin Thompson

Major: MAcc- Integrated Masters of Accounting Program

Past THON Experience:

Freshman and Sophomore Year: Finance Committee Member
Junior Year: Finance Commonwealth Campus Liaison
Senior Year: Fundraising and Sales Coordinator

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

I have played 100 holes of golf in one day! (on a real course, not mini-golf!)

What made you want to apply for the Finance Director position for THON 2018?

My entire college career I have been on the Finance committee and had some of the most inspiring leaders. I learned so much about myself and my passion in life through this organization and that will remain with me the rest of my life. Last year, as I was filling out my application, I realized how my past experiences had taught me so much and that I wanted a chance to dedicate more of my time to THON. I wanted to be the driving force that wasn’t afraid to implement new ideas, challenging our current processes and thinking of possible ways to make them better. I also knew that I wanted to be a mentor to future THON volunteers and leaders during my final year as a student. Having the opportunity to inspire other individuals to get involved with this organization and make a lasting impact is something that I love and will cherish forever. This year I have met so many incredible people who I know will bring this organization to new heights and that makes me so hopeful for the future of THON and that one day we will find a cure for these kids!

What are your responsibilities as the Finance Director?

As the Finance Director, I am in charge of creating and maintaining the THON 2018 budget. Additionally, I work to assure that all monetary donations are processed with integrity by my 27 captains and 100 committee members.

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

This year I have spent a lot of time working on improving our efficiency and processes related to Alternative Fundraisers and Canvassing. With the increase in these types of fundraising, I have worked with my captains to find more efficient ways to handle the influx of these donations to ensure more timely and accurate updates of totals for organizations. I also have worked closely with the Merchandise committee to better track the THON Store as it continues to grow! In general, the Finance committee is focusing on ways to improve processes and increase transparency with organizations and the rest of the THON community. In addition, a goal of mine is to use prior data to perform analysis on effective fundraising and use that information to assist our volunteers in their future fundraising efforts.

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

There are so many reasons that I love Finance! One reason that has stuck with me over the past few years is that all the work we do is behind the scenes and takes place every single day throughout the year leading up to THON! On Finance you have the unique opportunity to physically touch and see the impact that this organization is making on a daily basis and know that those dollars will go towards fighting childhood cancer. “Every penny counts”, and we really take that to heart on the Finance Committee.

What are the overall goals you hope to reach with your committee for THON 2018?

I hope that we leave THON and the Finance Committee a better place than we found it, as a family. Every single person on Finance has inspired me with their ideas and passion for this organization. I challenge my captains to THINK outside of the box and beyond what has always been done, since that is how we will continue to promote growth and one day find the cure to this horrible disease. I hope that they continue to have this dedication and love for this organization and mission, and do as much as possible this year and as alumni to help future volunteers and THON continue to be successful.

Why do you THON?

The reasons why I THON have changed each and every year with new experiences and encounters, but my main motivation has always been because of the families and the kids who inspire me each day. I can’t help them with their treatment or make this disease magically go away, but I can be there with them every step of the fight. I am dedicated to helping THON grow beyond the expected boundaries and face any obstacles with a positive and open mind, so that one day we can dance in celebration. THON isn’t just one weekend, but a constant feeling that there is hope for a brighter future for these kids. Each and every day I look around at all of the volunteers and am so impressed and lucky to work alongside 16,500 students who are so passionate about this mission of eradicating childhood cancer. THON is a family that fights each and every day for a better tomorrow and I feel so lucky to be a part of such an incredible organization during my time at Penn State.

What’s your favorite THON memory?

This is definitely a “finance-y “answer, but my favorite THON memory would have to be last year during the THON Weekend total reveal. Seeing those numbers go up and reflecting on all the time spent counting that money just put everything into perspective for me. THON would not be successful without the dedication of each and every volunteer, but THON’s success goes so much further than just the monetary amount we raise. I looked around at the room and saw families hugging THON volunteers and could feel in that moment how much love and hope there was in the THON community. The relationships made and support to the families is a key part to why THON is so successful, and seeing those connections during THON Weekend really puts that into perspective for me.

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

Iguanodon, since that is the only Dinosaur I know of thanks to the Disney ride in Animal Kingdom!

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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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