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Penn State Women’s Lacrosse’s Rachel Rosen Ready To ‘Do Her Part’ As THON 2021 Dancer

When Penn State women’s lacrosse’s Rachel Rosen isn’t on the field, she often finds herself involved with THON, the largest student-run philanthropy organization in the world.

Rosen has participated in THON for the past three years. However, this time around, she is taking her involvement to the next level as one of the 592 dancers in THON 2021. This is just another step Rosen is taking as THON continues to become more prevalent in her life.

“Over my past four years at school, THON has grown to be a bigger part of my life,” Rosen said. “I kinda turned it into one of my passions here.”

Last year, Rosen became Penn State’s Student-Athlete Advisory Board’s THON chair to help organize its THON Weekend efforts.

Rosen mentioned that the virtual format of this year’s THON creates some obvious differences from a normal year, but it also gives student-athletes a “unique opportunity” to be more involved due to the flexible format and sleep hours between midnight and 6 a.m.

“It’s not the same in that it’s virtual, but it does give student-athletes an opportunity to be more involved in THON,” Rosen said.” So, normally I would have a game and would be having practice and all that and wouldn’t be able to dance in THON or be as involved as I would like.”

As SAAB’s THON chair, Rosen is responsible for organizing all the fundraising events. Last year, fundraising events, such as donations or raffles, would take place at games. This year, the organization’s needed to switch it up quite a bit and get creative with different events.

Besides fundraising, Rosen is also in charge of planning athlete hour, which is when student-athletes get together with THON families during THON Weekend to play games. Additionally, she’s part of the group that helps plan the pep rally.

Rosen described the unorthodox nature of this year’s THON as “kinda difficult.” She mentioned that every sport besides football is currently in-season, which makes it really tough to coordinate with different student-athletes during THON season, especially due to the frequent rescheduling of games.

Despite all the troubles, Rosen is keeping focused on what’s really important throughout THON Weekend.

“It’s about the kids and it’s about the families so that’s what’s most important, but we’ve kinda had to shift gears and kinda figure out if it is virtual and if it is all online, what’s the best way to kinda go about that? It hasn’t been easy and it hasn’t been smooth, but we have made the right transitions and hopefully, everything falls into place this weekend.”

Rosen’s decision to dance this year doesn’t come without a reason. She, like many others, has been affected by cancer in some way that has impacted her life.

“I’ve had friends and family that have gone through cancer,” Rosen said. “I’ve lost a few friends. Then I’ve had friends who have just gone through it all and luckily, you know, they made it out on the great end of that. That’s kinda been my inspiration but also being so involved. I get to see everything THON gets to do for these families and these kids. That is my inspiration. I’m fortunate enough that I get to spend THON Weekend in the Bryce Jordan Center for the past three years and kind of that feeling, that energy, is inspiring to me.”

She continued, saying that standing during THON is the least she can do to “do her part” while kids have been fighting cancer.

Rosen’s dancing experience is going to be quite unique, even by this year’s standards. She’ll be standing in multiple different locations throughout the weekend. She said that she’ll spend the majority of the time in her house, but she’ll also walk her way over to the practice field when her team practices and then stand on the sideline during her team’s game on Sunday.

Rosen said that while completing the standing hours won’t be easy, she believes she’s at an advantage thanks to most of her standing hours being “fun,” as well as having the support from her family and friends.

“I live with nine people, so I’m sure at some point people will be here for me,” Rosen said. “They want to make it into a whole thing, they’ll take shifts standing with me and stuff, so as the weekend progresses we’ll see how it goes. I got a good group of people who will be here to support me that I’m living with.”

Whether you’re dancing, fundraising, or just spectating, many agree that THON is an unforgettable experience that is hard to put into words. Rosen truly believes it’s something every Penn Stater should experience “at least once.”

“You don’t really understand [THON] until you experience it,” Rosen said. “I think that is the power of THON…You don’t really understand the power and the energy that THON brings until you’re in the Bryce Jordan Center at THON Weekend and you just hear the energy, you hear the camaraderie, you hear like the family part of Penn State and THON.”

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a sophomore majoring in journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He grew up in Lindenhurst, NY and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his rants on all of his teams follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]


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