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From ‘For The Queen’ To ‘For The Kids:’ The Story Of Special Interest Org Monarch

Not many THON organizations are started because of a group of friends’ love for the Queen of England.

Monarch isn’t like most organizations.

Yes, Queen Elizabeth II herself inspired the creation of the fast-rising THON org back in 2013. Ryan Boyle, Sean Dobson, and Jacob Brown aren’t British, but they’d get together on the third floor of McKean Hall every Wednesday night and toast the beloved Queen every 15 minutes.

Eventually, three friends’ affinity for the Queen grew into an organization with a total of 120 members, 65-70 actives, and three dancers — Willa Boothe, Caroline Fitzpatrick, and Laura Host — standing for 46 hours at THON 2019.

J.R. Brown — Jacob’s younger brother — is now the president of Monarch. He joined because his older brother used to rave to him about how great THON was while he was still in high school.

“Getting here, meeting the families, and my first THON were all unforgettable,” said J.R., who’s currently a senior at Penn State. “I got to talk to the families personally, and the one told us they’d pay more than $1 million [in medical bills] without us. Helping them never see a bill is amazing.”

Monarch is paired with two THON families: the Keisters and Snyders. The organization teamed up with the Keisters when it was created in 2013. Dylan Keister has now been in remission for almost five years. The families and organization get together fairly frequently, whether it’s in their respective hometowns or Happy Valley.

Brown said Monarch’s fundraising methods are pretty straightforward with fundraisers like ribboning, canvassing, and pasta nights. The organization raised $34,166.26 in its inaugural year and approximately $19,000 #FTK last year. According to Brown, the org’s donor drive played a key role in fundraising this year.

Monarch also has plenty of traditions it takes part in during the 46 hours at the Bryce Jordan Center. As Brown explained, members of the organization hold a rock-paper-scissors tournament “about three quarters” of the way through THON. Senior Shawn Scroger took home the crown last year, so he’ll have to defend the throne this year.

Additionally, the organization has a “M-O-N-A-R-C-H” chant which mocks fraternities and sororities. Its current post in section 105 of the Bryce Jordan Center can be easily identified by the Union Jack hanging on the wall.

Brown thinks the future of Monarch looks bright, if not a bit uncertain after the organization recently lost its founding class to graduation.

“This year was pivotal,” he said. “We’ve been grooming people to take over and get closer with the families. We’ve been getting even more sign-ups at the involvement fairs than ever.”

If you look up and see British flags hanging proudly or hear a group of students yelling “for the Queen!” at THON this year, know that one passionate group of students devoted to the Queen turned their passion into a huge contribution #FTK.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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