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THON Director Thursday: Meet THON 2021 Hospitality Director Adam Pembleton

Name: Adam Pembleton

Major: Kinesiology

Past THON Experience:

THON 2018 Dancer Relations Committee Member
THON 2019 Dancer Relations Committee Member
THON 2020: Hospitality Committee Events Coordinator

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

I, along with several other members of the Hospitality Committee, grew out a mustache during the month of November. Our fundraiser called HOStaches raised over $1,000 for THON and the best mustache was crowned the winner. Our fundraising performance was great, but my mustache performance was average at best.

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

Throughout my time at Penn State, I have grown in ways that I could not have imagined because of THON. This organization has provided so much guidance and inspiration to me to become the best person that I can possibly be. I never dreamed of being on the THON Executive Committee when I was a THON Committee Member, but throughout my time as a volunteer, I really grew to understand the implications of all of the efforts that THON does and sought out more ways to give back to our mission and this organization.

After my third THON, it really struck me that the best way I could do this was by applying to be the Hospitality Director. One big belief of mine is that every day it is my responsibility to better myself by at least one percent and to help others to better themselves in a similar way. Getting better, even if just by a bit, every day allows for not only improvement in our world, but it also makes our world a little bit happier. The THON community has a unique opportunity to help a wide variety of people in the world while supporting a mission that so many can relate to. Cancer has affected my family personally and being able to combat cancer while also empowering hundreds of people is an incredible experience.

What are your responsibilities as the Hospitality Director?

Fuel the Fight. My main responsibility is to lead the Hospitality Committee that consists of 20 captains and 230 committee members. Together, we oversee all food and beverage donations for all Pre-THON events and THON weekend. I also personally work with a variety of corporate and in-kind donors to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship exists where we can be as logistically efficient and sustainable for all of our volunteers and supporters.

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

Every effort that the Hospitality committee does this year comes back to bringing people together. This year especially we are striving to unite our volunteers, donors, supporters, and more through something that we all love: food. I came into this year wanting to look critically at each aspect of the Hospitality Committee and make sure we are as efficient and deliberate as possible. Early this year, we strived to give back to our restaurant donors through a large number of profit share promotions that were incredibly successful.

With the help of our amazing donors, the Hospitality Committee will be putting together some amazing resources and food options for dancers, volunteers, and families for THON Weekend to ensure that despite the virtual nature of THON, everyone will be properly fed. We are also looking to improve our food safety and inventory standards in order to make sure that our volunteers are as safe and organized as possible throughout the year.

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

A lot of our work is very internal and behind the scenes. Many other committees do not get to see a lot of the hard work that Hospitality captains and committee members put into our efforts until they are totally finalized. It is one of my favorite things when the volunteers or families we are serving are so grateful for all of the work we put into our jobs. The Hospitality committee also has the unique opportunity to work with a number of different sides of THON. We are able to touch thousands of people through our work with dancers, families, volunteers, alumni, in-kind and corporate donors.

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

The overall goal that I hope for the Hospitality committee is to touch as many people as possible. A lot of our efforts are drastically different than in past years, but that will not stop us from being a light in our volunteers and families. I want all of our volunteers, dancers, and families to feel empowered and fueled to want to do more for our mission. I know that we will be able to provide a spark of energy in the entire THON community one PB&J at a time.

Why do you THON?

I always seem to answer this question in a different way because there are so many reasons “Why I THON”. Overall, I think the main reason that I THON is because of the incredible people that are in this organization. Between the families, volunteers, donors, and supporters that I work with, I can honestly say that they are some of the most amazing and generous people I have ever met. Every single person involved has a different background and story, yet they are all able to come together and do
so much for our mission. I THON so that one day I can dance alongside all of these people in celebration of a cure.

What’s your favorite THON memory?

During my junior year, I was able to spend some time in the upper bowl with my committee during the final four. Although it was only for a few short minutes, it was incredible to dance and celebrate with the group that inspired me so much throughout the entire year. They did so much more for me than they will ever know and it is a moment I will never forget.

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

I think I would be a Rhinorex. The name Rhinorex comes from a Greek and Latin word that means “Nose King”. Interestingly enough, they did not have a great ability to smell, but they are still certainly Kings in my eyes.

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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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