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A New Perspective: Going From Dancer Relations To Dancer

There are many levels to THON — more than 16,000 volunteers, each with specific roles to help make the whole event come together. Compared to many of the other people, the dancers are the ones who get a lot of the glory, but each dancer has his or her own DRCM, or Dancer Relations committee member, to support them throughout the weekend. But what happens when someone decides to switch sides in the THON system?

Victoria Oladipo is a senior majoring in biology and a dancer for Alpha Epsilon Delta at THON 2018. But for the past two years she’s been a member of the Dancer Relations committee, a role she found herself well-suited to. Hoping to go into medicine, Oladipo found the two roles similar.

“I liked the idea of being someone’s support system at their most trying and vulnerable minutes, which is part of the reason why I wanted to go into medicine,” Oladipo said. “I thought it’d fit my personality. I’m just very outgoing and I love working with people.”

But while serving as a DRCM, Oladipo felt a draw towards the dancers she was working with. More specifically, she wanted to do what they were doing.

“I was really inspired by the dancers that I had and I always had this self-doubt like, ‘There’s no way that I can do that.’ But then for that reason, to prove myself wrong, I figured that this would be a way to add to my student volunteer experience,” Oladipo said.

This lead to Oladipo going through the process and eventually getting selected as a dancer for her THON organization. It’d didn’t take too much to transition into becoming a dancer, for Oladipo already knew some tips and tricks.

“I love (being a dancer),” she said. “The entire part of your job (as DR) is knowing how to deal with intense situations and so now I know how to deal with those myself which is really nice.”

She also has great respect for her own DRCM. She’s been there before.

“I think (having been a DRCM) helps me appreciate my DRCM way more. I know more than most about how much time they put in for me, so it makes me appreciate them more,” Oladipo said.

THON has been a different experience for Oladipo since she’s doing something new. As a senior participating in her last THON, she’s hoping to get as much out of it as possible.

“It’s like stimulus overload, but in the best way,” Oladipo said. “There’s just so much to see at every corner, so many of my friends and captains are dancing and it’s such a community. It’s fun.”

But for every dancer, it always comes down to, ‘Why do you THON?’ Oladipo is no different — she has her reasons. Coming from a family that has had multiple members battle through cancer, she is thankful that she can participate in an event like THON.

“I love that I can raise awareness with just my small part as a student,” Oladipo said.

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About the Author

Matt Paolizzi

Since graduating from Penn State in 2021, Matt is (hopefully) manning a successful job and (hopefully) living a happy life by now. In a past life, he was a writer for Onward State and remains a proud alumnus of the best student publication in the country. Check out Podward State too, Onward State's official podcast, that he co-founded alongside Matt Ogden and Mitch Stewart in 2019. It's his baby, give it a wave and make sure it's doing okay. Thanks to da king Sam Brungo and everyone who follows, it most definitely is.

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