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THON Director Thursday: Meet THON 2020 Entertainment Director Darren Stauffer

Name: Darren Stauffer
Major: Telecommunications

Past THON Experience:
THON 2017 Dancer Relations Committee Member
THON 2018 Entertainment Pep Rally Coordinator
THON 2019 Entertainment DJ Coordinator

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

I once spent $100 on a Spider-Man costume that was handmade in Italy, and by once, I mean last month.

What made you want to apply for the Entertainment director position for THON 2020?

The reason why I wanted to be a THON director goes back to the reasons I wanted to be involved in THON in the first place. Cancer has touched me in many ways. I’ve lost close relatives to the disease, and I have a couple currently fighting. It’s a disease that I have deep-seated hate for, and that has driven me year in and year out to want to take the next steps and become involved at higher levels within THON. Each and every year, I felt like I always had more to give once THON weekend came and went. Each and every year I also had more and more involvement with the Four Diamonds families, which put even more faces and experiences behind why I THON.

This past year I finally felt like I had the right amount of experience to match that drive and passion, which is what led me to apply to be on the THON Executive Committee. The entertainment committee specifically has been my home going on three years. The prospect of being in a position where I could empower others and help them realize their goals and visions for THON and for the families was something I couldn’t pass up. I hope to take all of my experiences to help shape the next generation of THON volunteers and spread our mission on the road to ensuring that one day we will dance in celebration.

What are your responsibilities as the Entertainment Director?

My main responsibility as the Entertainment Director is leading the Entertainment Committee to embrace their roles and take them to new heights as well as support the rest of THON and the Executive Committee in any way I possibly can. The Entertainment Committee has a unique opportunity to impact more than 50 pre-THON events and THON weekend through unique live performances and audio/visual entertainment. We work to support the rest of the THON community in helping to execute their visions for events and to motivate THON volunteers and supporters throughout the year.

Entertainment Captains and Committee Members perform a variety of tasks including DJing events, creating the THON weekend timeline, contracting bands and various entertainment acts, executing large scale crowd engagements, setting up and tearing down the stage, moving lighting and sound equipment, controlling in house cameras and visual displays, and planning Pep Rally. My role is to ensure we are all working together to combine the abilities of entertainment with the goals and visions of as many THON volunteers as possible to foster new ideas, creating a more effective and exciting entertainment experience For the Kids!

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

Each and every year, THON makes strides and sets higher expectations for itself. This year the Entertainment Committee plans on continuing the growth of our shared crowd moments and finding a way to truly unite the BJC from the spectators in the upper rafters to the dancers on the floor. Some of the best moments of THON weekend are when every single person is focused on an event like Pep Rally, a Line Dance, or Family Hour. I want people to experience more moments like these and feel that “indescribable energy” of THON weekend. We plan to introduce more opportunities for both dancers and spectators to participate in games and activities that are unique and engaging by incorporating interactive technology. 

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

Entertainment is so cool, unique, and fun because although we typically operate behind the scenes, we have the opportunity to impact so many Four Diamonds Families, THON volunteers, donors, and supporters by creating positive and memorable experiences at more than 50 pre-THON events and THON weekend. We are able to collaborate with other THON committees, organizations and external stakeholders to help bring their visions to life and create magical moments that will remain with people long after the conclusion of each event and THON weekend.

What are the overall goals you hope to reach with your committee for THON 2020? 

When all is said and done for THON 2020, I want to walk out of the BJC knowing that we were able to play a part in executing one of the most unique and powerful events that anyone has experienced. I want people to be awestruck by the unforgettable experience and emotion that encapsulates the entire Bryce Jordan Center for the duration of THON Weekend. I also hope that the 79 members of the Entertainment Committee are able to have an amazing experience seeing their ideas become reality and impact countless families, dancers, and spectators.

Why do you THON?

I THON because cancer is a disease that I know very well, and I’ve seen the impact it can have on individuals and families at all different levels. I want to do everything I can to help create another source of hope and create positive memories for kids and their families going through that battle. 

What’s your favorite THON memory?

My favorite THON memory is more of a feeling. Every year, a little bit before entrance plan begins, as THON volunteers finish setting up the BJC for THON weekend and the sound system comes alive, the BJC starts to fill with this energy that can be felt. You know one of the most amazing weekends of the year is about to happen and all the hard work everyone has put in is about to pay off. Families are about to come and be a part of a weekend they spend all year looking forward to, and dancers are about to stand with them in their fight. It’s something that can’t be described, only felt, and it’s my favorite part of every year. 

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

If I could be any dinosaur I would be a mosasaurus because it’s basically a predatory whale and I would have no reason to be afraid of what’s in the ocean if I’m that large. 

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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 ([email protected]) and follow her @cassady_potts on Twitter.

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