THON Director Thursday: Meet THON 2020 R&R Event Safety Director Nicole Mathias
Name: Nicole Mathias
Major: Music Education
Past THON Experience:
R&R Committee Member THON 2017
R&R Event Safety Security Team Captain THON 2018
R&R Event Safety Training & Development Captain THON 2019
Name an interesting, weird, or quirky fact about yourself:
I can say all 50 states in alphabetical order in one breath. I learned the “50 States Song” in third grade, and it’s just stuck with me.
What made you want to apply for the Event Safety Director position for THON 2020?
The past three years I’ve been involved with THON, I’ve been fortunate to meet such inspiring people, make lasting connections, and have the greatest experiences of my life thus far. As the Event Safety director, I wanted to facilitate that same opportunity to all THON Volunteers, whether they are Committee member, involved with an organization, or as someone who just happens to walk into the Bryce Jordan Center during THON Weekend. I also wanted to contribute to the conversations that will move THON into the future and create positive and effective change that will help THON grow beyond THON 2020.
What are your responsibilities as the Event Safety director?
As the Event Safety director some of my main responsibilities include being the liaison of THON to the Bryce Jordan Center, University Emergency Management, and University Police. There are many partnerships that allow THON to operate at the size that we do, so to keep THON moving forward it is essential that all parties involved feel confident that we as students will meet and exceed their standards.
What do you want to implement in your position this year that’s unique and differs from years past?
Portal closures! Every year we hope to improve the portal closure experience for both spectators and Rules & Regulations Volunteers. This year, R&R Committee members will be using tablets to carry out the entire process. Our goal with this project is to expedite the process and get spectators in and out of portals in a timely fashion so they can spend as much time enjoying THON Weekend as possible.
What makes the Event Safety committee so cool, fun, and/or important?
We get to see every angle of THON Weekend. We are in the stands, on the floor, with the dancers, with the families, with anyone that comes to THON. There is not one person that comes to THON Weekend that doesn’t interact with us in some way. We create the magical and energetic atmosphere that everyone interacts with THON Weekend because we are everywhere, and I have always felt this is the most exciting and rewarding part of being on this committee.
What are the overall goals you hope to reach with your committee for THON 2020?
For the past few years, the Event Safety committee has shifted its focus to the spectator experience and that is definitely something I have been continuing to make a priority for myself and my captains. Since everyone interacts with Rules and Regulations volunteers, I share a goal with the Fundraising Safety director that those interactions are beneficial and helpful on both ends. What’s different this year is how much we’ve been trying to work with other THON committees. We have created more opportunities to increase communication and planning between different committees we haven’t worked with in the past. This allows us to be involved in the planning process earlier so we can help make new initiatives safe for everyone from the beginning.
Why do you THON?
I THON so every child can have a childhood and all kids can just be kids.
What’s your favorite THON memory?
During the final four hours of THON 2019, my co-captain and now co-director Becca Aloi and I went to the will call area of the BJC. While we were there, a teenager with her parents wandered into the area. They seemed lost so we asked if we could give them directions. The teenager said she was a high school senior who was an accepted student for the upcoming fall semester, and they had just finished a tour of the campus. Their tour guide had told them that they should check out the final hours of THON. Becca and I gave them wristbands and directed them to Gate A. Getting to show an accepted student how we celebrate and honor our families has been my favorite way of sharing THON’s mission.
Per Onward State tradition, if you could be any dinosaur, which one would you be and why?
Whatever the tallest dinosaur is. Or a pterodactyl because being able to fly would be SO cool!
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About the Author
“To any current underclassmen reading this: learn the fight song, cheer loud, and tailgate early. You’re lucky to be a Nittany Lion.”
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