Why THON Orgs Have Their Specific Name

There are plenty of ways for students to get involved with THON. Some get involved with Greek life, some join committees, and others join special interest organizations, or orgs as people call them. Orgs’ specific goals are to raise money for THON throughout the year. But while looking out at the sea of colorful letters and shirts, you might be wondering where their names come from. We spent some time walking around the BJC to find out more about each org’s name’s origins.


This name has a pretty cool background. As anyone who’s seen Lilo And Stitch can tell you, Ohana means family in Hawaiian. The bond between the titular character inspired kids across the country, and inspired Penn State students when they started this org.

The family theme is an important aspect, as it unites the students and their Four Diamonds families to work together to raise money to end childhood cancer.


The name DASH represents the time in between the major two dates of life: when you are born and when you die. That time in between is what members call “the dash,” the time where you should live your life to the fullest. Their goal is to protect that “dash” for everyone, and give everyone a chance to experience everything life has to offer.


Like Ohana, the name for Springfield comes from another beloved animated creation. The Simpsons was the inspiration for the name, and the fact that the founding students were watching the show at around the time they were thinking of putting this group together just culminated in a perfect storm. Everything worked together as they formed a group that still goes strong 17 years later.


There is a very personal story about the name Foto, and that story was shared at THON this year. In 2009, Penn State student Adam Fountaine wanted to create an org that would honor his brother Tommy. Tommy beat pediatric cancer, and his success story was what led to Foto to be created — it’s named as his initials backwards. It is still going strong today.


A relatively new org that was established in 2016, Eclipse was created as a small group of people who wanted to make a difference with THON. Since then, the org has grown to more 600 members. It’s eclipsed its small group population as it grows into one of the top orgs on campus.


Atlas is named after the Greek titan who is responsible for holding up the whole entire world. Created in 2005, the org has about 250 members and has consistently finished in the top five for money raised by orgs. Its popularity continues to grow, especially as it keeps up its cool traditions of wearing pink, fuzzy hats in the stands.

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About the Author

Owen Abbey

Owen Abbey was a Secondary Education major before he graduated from the wonderful institution known as Penn State. When he was not writing for the blog, he enjoyed rooting for the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens, supporting Penn State basketball and softball, dreaming of all of the ways he would win the TV show "Survivor," and yes mom, actually doing school work. All of this work prepared him to teach his own class of students, which was always his true passion. He still can be found on Twitter @theowenabbey and can be reached for questions and comments at [email protected]

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