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Staff Picks: What We’d Like To See At Virtual THON 2021

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, THON is going virtual this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. For the first time in the 46-hour dance marathon’s storied history, THON Weekend won’t be held in person. Naturally, it’s going to look a bit different this time around.

Clearly, Penn Staters will need to start thinking outside the box to help make a virtual THON a smash hit. To help THON’s volunteers out, our staffers got the ball rolling and offered some serious (and not-so-serious) suggestions for the first-ever virtual event.

Michael Tauriello: Pep Rally Team Videos

Instead of each team doing a choreographed dance, why not see who has the best video editing skills and the most creativity? Student-athletes could submit a video that showcases whatever they’d like. Perhaps they continue on with tradition and carry out a socially distanced dance number. Maybe each athlete from a team could reenact a movie scene. Hell, they could even recreate old favorite memes.

Anything to possibly make the pep rally competition a little less lopsided (looking at you, men’s gymnastics team) would go a long way. Let’s shake things up a bit for THON 2021 — it’s already wacky enough as is.

Colleen Nersten: Celebrity Fire Power

There is no doubt that having a virtual THON is not ideal, but it also means that there are opportunities for some cool things that aren’t as feasible when it’s in person. For that reason, I suspect that Penn State superstars like Saquon Barkley and the Jonas Brothers will play a much bigger role in the event. Rather than sending in a short video clip or tweet, these stars could offer Penn Staters a glimpse into their lives thanks to the wonders of video editing. Personally, I’d love to get a Saquon house tour and the first public appearance of Baby Joe Jonas at virtual THON.

Matt DiSanto: Bring BJC Concessions Home

Look, line dances and surprise musical performances are great. But everyone who’s anyone knows the real magic of THON takes place on the Bryce Jordan Center concourse. Filled to the brim with the greatest meals and snacks known to man sleep-deprived college students, a trip outside the portal never disappoints.

To keep the magic alive, THON should consider mobilizing the BJC’s food and set up curbside pickup options around campus to give virtual attendees a chance to continue the tradition. And yes, I’m talking about all the food — everything from roasted pecans to chicken baskets to delectable grilled cheeses. As anTHONy, Onward State’s premier THON correspondent, would say, no THON is complete without a BJC hot dog 15 BJC hot dogs.

Ryen Gailey: Virtual Talent Show

I think a virtual THON must include some version of the kid’s talent show. One of my favorite parts of the weekend is when you get to see the kids show-off their insanely cute performances. I think making this happen would be relatively simple and still incredibly safe, as families could just Zoom in remotely to whatever THON livestream there may be to let the kids perform.

THON always has and always will be about the kids. Not only is this a crowd favorite event of the weekend, but the kids absolutely enjoy it too. Here’s to hoping they keep some of the magic alive.

Katie Moats: Killer Lineups

Like Colleen said, a virtual THON gives us a lot more opportunities to utilize Penn State’s connections. There are a lot of musicians and celebrities that have some sort of interest in Penn State and THON, the Jonas Brothers being an obvious example, but some others being Pennsylvania native Taylor Swift and noted THON supporter Khloe Kardashian.

If THON is some sort of Zoom fest this year, we could potentially have some interactions with some really big names that haven’t been able to make it out to the BJC for THON weekend in the past.

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