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THON Director Thursday: Meet THON 2019 Hospitality Director Zachary Kiehn

Name: Zachary Kiehn
Major: Aerospace Engineering
Past THON Experience: 
Freshman Year: Crowd ENT Committee 
Sophomore Year: Hospitality Cadet 
Junior Year: Hospitality Captain 

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

My birth certificate is issued from the U.S. Consulate in Japan.

What made you want to apply for the Hospitality Director position for THON 2019?

THON has really shaped my experience here at Penn State and I’ve seen the positive impact that it can have not only in the lives of families, but also in the lives of students here at Penn State. The Hospitality committee has become synonymous with family for me, and I wanted to try my best to be able to bring all of this for the members of the Hospitality committee for THON 2019. I really buy into our unofficial slogan “fueling the fight” not only physically, but emotionally as well.

What are your responsibilities as the Hospitality Director?

The Hospitality committee is composed of 10 co-captain pairs that each lead a committee of 26 committee members. These volunteers are my primary responsibility, because without each of them the Hospitality committee would not be able to function. It is our shared responsibility to secure all in-kind food and beverage donations for THON events to feed families, volunteers, and dancers. Our committee prepares and serves all of these meals at THON weekend, as well as staffing concession stands.

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

My largest goal this year was to bring the systems that Hospitality operates on into the 21st century. We have been working hard with the Technology captains and our committee to implement meal planning, benefitting, and inventory tools on THINK. We hope to that the tools will help improve our efficiency across multiple aspects of our committee tasks and allow us to focus the energy of our volunteers on new and engaging projects in the future.

What makes the Hospitality Committee so cool, fun, and/or important?

The coolest thing that we do on Hospitality is being able to put a smile on the face of a child, dancer, or volunteer simply by handing them food. We often underestimate the power of food, but sharing a meal can help humans do a lot of things like relax, refuel, and meet new people or cultures. The Hospitality committee enjoys being able to bring a small part of this to all of keystone THON events.

What are the overall goals you hope to reach with your committee for THON 2019?

We are working this year to overall improve our dedication to food safety and safe serving at THON weekend. Additionally, Hospitality is working to become better stewards of our awesome donors that support us every THON year. Finally, we hope to continue and improve the strides that were made last year to optimizing our committee member shifts THON weekend in order to help every committee member have the best experience available to them.

Why do you THON?

It’s hard to pick one reason out of all of the impacts that THON has, but I think that at the base of it all every THON volunteer does it for the kids. Completely outside of my committee responsibilities last year, I had the opportunity to tour the Hershey Children’s Hospital. There were a few kids there that ran me and co-captains day. Just getting to hang out with them all day and see them still be kids amidst all of the treatments, is still the moment that I usually look to as a reminder for what THON is all about.

What’s your favorite THON memory?

Last THON weekend when my co-captain and I brought our committee down the steps to the floor for their first shift. Seeing the freshmen react to the craziness of THON weekend was truly rewarding.

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

Probably a Brachiosaurus because it’s in the history books for being the largest confirmed dinosaur ever, coming in at over 23 meters long. This seems a little cooler than Compsognathus, which is the smallest ever dinosaur, coming in at just over 1 meter long. Both would be cool, because they’re record holders, but go big or go home I guess.

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About the Author

Cassady Potts

Cassady is a junior English and journalism major and Onward State's Student Life Editor. She is from York, Pennsylvania and loves iced coffee, books, and women's volleyball. You can find her on campus by looking for the girl who always wears stripes. Feel free to send any questions, comments, or memes via email (ca[email protected]) and follow her @cassady_potts on Twitter.

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