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THON Director Thursday: Meet Public Relations Director Haley Staub

Name: Haley Staub

Major: Public Relations

Past THON Experience:

2014-15: Public Relations Committee Member
2015-16: Public Relations Media Relations Captain & Schreyer Honors College Student Council Co-THON Chair
2016-17: Public Relations Lead Media Relations Captain
THON 2018 Public Relations Director

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

I come from the Snack Food Capital of the World — shoutout to Utz!

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

From when I first attended THON™ as an overall for my middle school’s mini-THON in eighth grade and spent an afternoon in Penn State Children’s Hospital with a classmate facing her own battle with Leukemia, I began to see the value of dedicating myself to a greater purpose and the life-changing impact that THON had: To be the light for our heroes in the midst of a dark journey and for parents to feel a little less weight on their shoulders. To be the small moments of magic and glowing smile that belongs on every child’s face.

Ultimately, the pride that I have for this institution stems from the sense of community and passion that THON has instilled in me. It has been in my role on the Public Relations Committee that I feel my voice aligns the most with my personal skills and can make the greatest impact. Each year, I have felt called to invest more into this organization that has taught me it is not just about what you can accomplish over these four years, but what you can give back to others.

What are your responsibilities as the Public Relations Director?

As the Public Relations Director, I oversee and direct the efforts of 24 Public Relations Captains and more than 80 committee members, encompassing the areas of Media Relations, Social Media, Graphic Design, Video Production, Photography, and more. Our committee aims to spread THON’s mission on a local, state, and national level in an effort to inspire the public to take part in the fight against childhood cancer. I serve as the main point of contact for members of the press, and have the privilege of telling the stories of our volunteers, alumni, families, and donors united in one shared purpose, For The Kids™.

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

The Public Relations Committee is unique in that it is constantly evolving as new technologies, and digital platforms grow and become available. We are particularly excited about the opportunity to spread THON’s mission on iHeart Radio during the months of December, January, and February thanks to PNC Bank’s support. We are also working on improvements to and live stream capabilities, in collaboration with 46 LIVE, to engage national and global supporters in the fight.

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

The Public Relations Committee stands together as one unified voice – the voice amplified during captivating video scenes, the voice captured through graphics and images at yearlong events, the voice embedded into the pages of the Diamond Guide, and the voice shared in THON’s coverage by local, regional, and national media outlets. It combines the diverse talents of writers, designers, photographers, videographers, and strategists to project the voice and spread THON’s mission nationwide in everything we do.

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

My overall goals for the THON 2018 Public Relations Committee are to continue to make THON recognizable on a national scale, and to continue to develop THON’s brand not just for 2018, but also for years to come. As THON continues to grow, it is important to increase engagement of current THON supporters, while also spreading awareness to audiences beyond State College.  

Why do you THON?

They always say “words are powerful,” but there are no six letters that have the power to influence lives quite like cancer does. Cancer has the indiscriminate ability to touch everyone, whether directly through a personal battle or indirectly through a parent, family, or friend.  

I first encountered these six letters at eight years old. When my aunt was undergoing treatment for Ovarian Cancer, I remember one specific afternoon I went to take her cherry Jell-O and noticed her hair had become increasingly thin. Being young and curious, I asked her if she had considered wearing a wig – how fun it would be to have a different hairstyle everyday. She opened her closet to show me the various styles she had collected over the past few months. Fascinated by the different looks, I remember asking her why I hadn’t seen her wear them and she responded, “They’re uncomfortable and I don’t need to pretend that I’m someone else.”

Today, it is this quote that I remember most vividly about my aunt’s battle, and ultimately, what changed my outlook on life and inspired my commitment to service: It’s not the events of life that define you, but your character in midst of them. If she was going to win this fight, she wasn’t going to do it alone. My aunt showed me that #CancerCannot steal hope, change who you are or what you’re passionate about – and I will do everything I can to prove that #CancerCannot and will not win.

What’s your favorite THON memory?

Over the past four years, the Public Relations Committee has had the honor of being paired with the Roslevege family. Memories of time spent with their family making gingerbread houses, attending THON sporting events, and singing ‘The Climb’ on stage with Hope during the Kids’ Talent Show have been some of my fondest by far and give deeper meaning to the hours I dedicate as a volunteer.

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

When I was in elementary school, I always said I wanted to be a paleontologist, which would have given me the opportunity to study all dinosaurs. Since science didn’t end up being my strongest subject, I would be a stegosaurus with some serious body armor.

About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa is a junior public relations major and the managing editor of Onward State. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Send questions and comments via e-mail ([email protected]) and follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.


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