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THON Director Thursday: Meet THON 2021 Entertainment Director Emily Scott

Name: Emily Scott

Major: General Biology

Past THON Experience:
THON 2018: Crowd Entertainment Committee Member
THON 2019: Entertainment DJ Captain
THON 2020: Crowd Entertainment Captain

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

I studied abroad in Tanzania in the summer following my sophomore year, and it was one of the best experiences. I was able to travel around rural and
urban areas while interacting with different cultural groups. I camped and
hiked in some of the most beautiful places in the world, and I am so excited
to return back again after graduating.

What made you want to apply for the Entertainment Director position for THON 2021?

The reason I wanted to be the Entertainment Director reflects back on the
many moments, people, and families I have been fortunate to meet since my freshman year. After experiencing my first THON, I remember thinking
back to myself, “Do whatever you can to give back to this organization, and
don’t stop until you’ve given it your all.” Going into my senior year, this
feeling did not go away — it only became stronger. Each year, I was impacted by more individuals in the THON community, and each year as I gained more love for this organization, I wanted nothing more than to return that love and passion back the best way I could.

THON is one consistent form of hope and love in the lives of all those involved, and even when the world sometimes seems to go dark, that THON ‘feeling’ and those impactful moments are what we can all reflect on and use as motivation to keep fighting. Entertainment takes a focus on creating that THON ‘feeling’ by facilitating engaging and special moments for all of those within the community, and that is something I fell in love with my freshman year. The interactivity Entertainment has with other committees and different aspects of THON is so unique, and something that has taught me so much these past four years.

I wanted to spend my last year at Penn State spreading that ‘feeling’ to each person I encounter so that they too can shape the journey of every THON volunteer, THON family, and spectator for years and years to come.

What are your responsibilities as the Entertainment Director?

As the Entertainment Director, I work alongside 22 Captains to provide
the highest level of production value in performances, live
entertainment, and audio/visual entertainment at every THON event
throughout the year as well as THON Weekend. My main role is to
empower captains to contract over 90 live entertainment acts, create
the THON Weekend timeline, DJ over 50 pre-THON events, and
execute large-scale crowd engagements for thousands of volunteers and
spectators.

The Entertainment Committee has the unique opportunity
to work alongside and support the THON Community in executing
visions for the events as well as motivating each and every spectator,
family, and volunteer throughout the year. This year, Entertainment has
taken a new role in facilitating and producing different Livestream
elements for events by working with other committees to organize
special guests, graphics, and general live components. Overall, my role is to facilitate the execution of the new ideas of Entertainment Captains
and Committee Members, as well as build upon the incredible progress
made by Entertainment Committees in the past, all For The Kids!

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

The specific goals and visions I had for my position have changed
drastically since I started last April, but the impact and idea behind them
are still the same. Entertaiment has moved into a role of facilitating and organizing virtual events through different live stream platforms which have allowed us the ability to try new things and connect with many new people in the THON Community. For THON 2021, I hope to work on a virtual
live stream event that emits an environment incredibly engaging and
captivating despite the distance between us.

This includes facilitating events that can reach people from all over, as well as giving performance groups the opportunity to perform and keep people dancing from the safety of their own homes. My goal for Entertainment this year is to remind people what it is that makes them love this organization, so we are all able to support and create special moments for our families, even when it may seem difficult at times.

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

I may be a little bias in this opinion, but I believe Entertainment is
incredibly fun! We work tirelessly to provide the fun and engaging
atmosphere that makes THON Weekend feel so magical. Our main job
is to create this environment and make it as fun as possible for our
families, supporters, volunteers, and dancers. The music, lights, sound,
games, and so much more are parts that completely add to the experience, even if they are behind the scenes.

The behind-the-scenes part is also something that makes it so much more special, as you see the efforts of every single volunteer come together in front of your eyes. Entertainment has a special role in helping other committees make their ideas come to life, no matter how big or small, and that role is one of my favorite parts of being a member of ENT. A former director of mine once showed me the THON Weekend Recap Video and said
“ENT had a role in making almost every part of this video happen. That
privilege is what you should use to motivate yourself.” That is something
I have not forgotten and something that always reminds me of the role
Entertainment plays, and why it is so special.

What are the overall goals you hope to reach with your committee for THON 2021?

The overall goals I hope for Entertainment for THON 2021 is to be able
to reach our THON Community and create an experience that
surpasses what anyone imagined. The virtual world is one that can be
hard to break into, so my goal is to work with my team on creating an event that sparks interest in the viewers and keeps people watching.
THON Weekend is for our families and our dancers, and I want them
to feel that we did everything in our power to provide them with an
unforgettable weekend. We may be all spread out over the world, but
our hearts are in the BJC standing together and holding each other.
Through performance groups, bands, crowd games, family events, and so
much more—my goal is for people to feel that THON ‘feeling’ despite
the distance between us.

Why do you THON?

The reason I THON has changed many times throughout the past four
years. The reason I THON today has grown to be based on the people I
have met throughout my THON Journey. Each and every family, captain, director, and person I have met are the reason I am in the position I am
in today. They inspired me to work my hardest by working so
passionately in their own ways.

I have met some of my best friends in this organization who have continued to inspire me, and so I THON for them. I THON for the future of this organization, the people who have so much potential in them to create an event even more special and exciting for our families in the future. And lastly, I THON for the families as they are some of the strongest people I have met in my life. They are the reason we do what we do, and it is so special to be even a small part of their journey.

What’s your favorite THON memory?

The last hour leading up to the Final Four of THON 2020, my committee
and I danced and celebrated together genuinely enjoying the energy and
excitement of the weekend. Before they made their way up to the
upper bowl, we had one big group hug where we all started crying as we
felt the weekend coming to a close. This is a moment I reflect on and
can still feel the shivers, the tears, the excitement, and the pride for the
people around me.

My co-captain and I watched as our committees walked off the floor and we broke into tears as we reflected on the people and moments that made the year so incredible. We watched the people around us smiling and laughing and, at that moment, I knew the THON Community is one that cannot be described in words. Being surrounded by some of my closest friends in the most incredible atmosphere in the world, all while celebrating a year’s worth of work all For The Kids ®, created a moment I will never forget.

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

I would be a pterodactyl because I would be able to fly, which would be pretty cool, but they make a funny sound. So, I think it would be fun to make people laugh a lot!


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About the Author

Mackenzie Cullen

Mackenzie is a junior majoring in English and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She is from Minersville, PA, and is always trying to explain exactly where that is. Send all compliments to [email protected] or @MackenzieC__ on Twitter.

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