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THON Director Thursday: Meet THON 2020 OPP Director Zack Vliet

Name: Zack Vliet
Major: Data Science

Past THON Experience: OPPerations Committee Member 2017-2018
OPPerations Captain 2019

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

I’m allergic to the cold.

What made you want to apply for the OPPerations Director position for THON 2020?

Ever since I was a freshman I knew I wanted to be as involved as possible in THON, regardless of the role I was in. I was lucky enough to have been selected as captain last year for OPPerations, and ever since then I’ve known I wanted to give as much of my time and effort to OPP while I still could. 

What are your responsibilities as the OPPerations Director?

As the OPPerations Director, I am responsible for managing and supporting 21 captains and more than 700 committee members. My job throughout the year include assisting in the setting up and tearing down all pre-THON events and finally transforming the Bryce Jordan Center into THON’s home. Along with this, I help to ensure that all events remain clean and safe for all THON volunteers and families.

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

I want to implement a more THON-wide effort in recycling and waste management at THON Weekend. Managing waste at THON Weekend, an absolutely massive event, is incredibly difficult for one or two committees. I want to try to educate more committees on how to best reduce landfill waste and support OPPerations in our mission in making THON a zero-waste organization. Different committees are more present in certain areas of the BJC, and educating them on how to be sustainable would overall improve THON’s efforts across the board. 

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

The people inside of it. The work of OPP is not often glamorous, and yet every single one of our volunteers are passionate about what we do. No matter the job, whether taking out the trash or mopping after THON Weekend has ended, you will more likely than not find all of the OPPerations volunteers smiling and more than happy to do the work we do. OPPerations wouldn’t be as great as it is without the dedication and attitude that all 700+ volunteers have. We care about the work we do as much as the people we do it for. 

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

I hope to make THON a zero-waste organization. Each year we consistently decrease our total waste, and I hope to continue this trend. Ensuring that we leave our planet in the best possible state is incredibly important. As a whole, OPPerations is aiming to educate the THON community on how to be sustainable and how to reduce the amount of landfill waste we make at each of our events. 

Why do you THON?

I THON so that when I do graduate, I can say that I did everything I could to help the lives of others while at school. THON has given so many students, myself included, a platform to give back. I THON to continue to give hope and support to our community. More than anything, I want to give kids the chance to be kids. 

What’s your favorite THON memory?

Last year during THON Weekend, I was responsible for maintaining and cleaning the Family Lounge during Pep Rally. I wasn’t planning to do much more than keep the bathrooms clean, take the trash out, and overall make sure the environment was as clean as possible for our families. One of my good friends who was a Family Relations Captain at the time asked me to stay a little longer than to just clean. Because of him, I got to spend all of Pep Rally getting to see kids and families genuinely enjoy an event, more so than I’ve ever got to experience before in THON. 

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

Pterodactyl? I’ve always wanted to fly and I can’t really think of many other flying dinosaurs. 

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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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