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THON Director Thursday: Meet R&R Event Safety Director Kyle McGarry

Name: Kyle McGarry

Major: Nuclear Engineering

Past THON Experience:

Freshman: OPP Committee Member
Sophomore: OPP Lieutenant
Junior: Event Safety Security Captain

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

I own a parakeet named Devin Randall.

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

THON is without a doubt the most selfless, altruistic, and truly caring organization I have ever been a part of, stemming from every committee member, every organization member, every Captain, THON Chair, Director, and THON supporter there is. I am immensely grateful to be able to do my part wherever this organization needs me, but I really wanted to give as much of myself as possible to an organization that embodies such incredible ideals. The opportunity to change and save lives is one that cannot be passed up, and there are no lives I’d want to work for more than the children and families I’ve been lucky enough to meet in my time here.

What are your responsibilities as the R&R Event Safety Director?

As the Event Safety Director, it’s my overall responsibility to ensure the safety and security of every spectator, child, family member, and volunteer that is at any THON event. I coordinate all of the building security for THON Weekend, as well as work with police, EMS, and emergency management to ensure that THON is protected from any emergency that could occur. I also help the Event Safety Captains plan for almost all logistical procedures that occur throughout the building during THON Weekend, ranging from a variety of events that occur over the course of the weekend.

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

Coming from a very different committee (OPP) into R&R, I think I had a very unique perspective on the committee and saw a lot of room for change. I was captivated by how logistically minded the Event Safety committee had to be and how R&R plays a role in just about every event that occurs in the building. One of the most noticeable changes I worked with Pass Team and the Technology Committee to make is to implement scheduled passes to better accommodate spectators and fix the ever-present issue of people waiting hours to get onto the floor. The whole premise of this year for R&R has been to be more accommodating to organizations and let them know that we really hear their concerns and that we’re working as hard as possible to give them a better experience! A little more behind-the-scenes, Event Safety has been working hard to figure out ways to improve the experience of all of our volunteers. Finally, one of my biggest objectives this year was to prepare THON to be ready in the case of any serious emergency by preparing emergency protocol for any situation that can arise and training Captains to be cognizant of and prepared for any danger that could approach THON. Because, ultimately, the goal is to keep all of our children, families, volunteers, and supporters as safe as possible.

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

A lot of people don’t realize how much depth there is to Event Safety! We really get a hand in planning every single event that everyone gets to see throughout THON Weekend and ensure that it happens safely. Additionally, it’s a committee where you have to think critically to get a task done. From a committee member perspective, it’s a blast to be able to be so close to all of the action of THON and get opportunities to interact with spectators and families. From a Captain and Director perspective, it’s amazing to be able to have full access to the building, facilitate events and interactions, and get to do some of the work that makes the magic of THON happen. As far as being important, to me there’s nothing more important than making sure every family at THON can have an amazing time and not have to worry about their safety and security for one second – and that’s why we’re there!

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

This year, I really wanted to enhance our committee members’ experiences in every large or small way possible. I really wanted to give every R&R committee member a clear purpose for anywhere that they are in the building, and I also wanted to engage them throughout the year. I had some great Captains working to make their CMs’ experiences as amazing as possible throughout the year, and R&R would not be the same without them. Another huge goal was the enormous changes to Pass under the THON Weekend Dashboard. We worked extensively with TECH to make scheduled passes a possibility for this year, and I truly think that organizations and dancers are going to love it. Finally, I wanted to focus a lot of my efforts on risk mitigation and increasing security for THON Weekend, THON 5K, and Family Carnival so that everyone at the events can truly feel safe and secure.

Why do you THON?

This is one of those answers that changes every year for everyone, I think. I started off in THON because my older sister was on an OPP committee and she told me it was an amazing and incredible time, but I didn’t know much about it. I thought it was just the fun thing to do at school. When I got involved on OPP freshman year, I was honestly astounded by the mission, the cause, the impact, and the incredible people that THON attracted. From knowing next to nothing about THON or its mission, I was suddenly captivated by the amazing and limitless capabilities of a group of students. For these thousands of volunteers to give just a little of their time each week throughout the year, they were able to help change and even save the lives of some of the hardest fighting kids you’ve ever met. They provided hope, comfort, support, love, anything else you could ask for to these children, parents, and family members that have been faced with one of life’s greatest challenges. Seeing all of these people come together for such an amazing cause, I knew that I wanted to give as much as possible to this organization that gives so much to others.

What’s your favorite THON memory?

One of the funnier ones I have was from my sophomore year as an OPP committee member. Before THON, my “secret buddy” bought me a pack of fake mustaches that she wanted me to wear during THON, so I put them in my fanny pack. Later, I was with my committee walking on the floor, and this group of kids came up and started blasting all of us with water guns. Somehow my committee convinced all four of the kids to turn and start blasting just me with water, but instead of getting them back, I reached into my fanny pack and offered the mustaches as a truce. They happily took the mustaches, and then all of these guys started soaking the rest of my committee while they looked like tiny Mario and Luigi.

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

Brontosaurus…I just wanna be tall, man…

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa is a senior 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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