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R&R Staying Busy Amid THON 2021’s Virtual Format

In a few short hours, THON Weekend will officially be underway.

While the event itself will certainly look a little different than years past, one thing that has remained the same is the need to ensure the safety of all volunteers, spectators, dancers, and families participating.

Year after year, THON’s Rules and Regulations (R&R) committee works tirelessly to make sure that everyone’s THON experience is a safe one.

Within R&R, there are two main committees: fundraising safety and event safety. Traditionally, fundraising safety captains will work with students who are fundraising throughout the year to ensure the safety of all fundraising measures, and event safety captains are tasked with planning all security for THON Weekend.

During THON itself, the two committees come together to work event security. This includes monitoring portals in the stands, participants on the floor, and each of the countless entrances and exits at the Bryce Jordan.

If you’ve ever been to THON at the BJC, you’ve definitely seen members of R&R running around the building like crazy and “putting out the fires.” They are highly trained throughout the year to identify any potential issues and perform routine security checks throughout the weekend.

This year, while much of THON looks different, the role of R&R has mostly stayed the same. Over the past few months, the fundraising safety committee has been working with students to make sure their fundraisers are not only physically safe, but also mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.

As a resource for those who were trying to determine guidelines for their fundraising events, R&R has helped many groups come up with new, innovative fundraising ideas such as dare challenges, contactless food delivery, and virtual concerts.

Leading up to THON Weekend, the event safety committee has been busy working security at events, including the in-person celebration after the virtual 5K, enforcing social distancing, mask-wearing, and building capacities.

Kate Colgan, R&R’s fundraising safety director, shared that although she was nervous coming into this year, she continues to be surprised every single day by the resilience and positivity of every volunteer she interacts with.

“I think our volunteers are somehow more resilient this year than they ever have been in the past. It seems like nothing phases them and nothing knocks down their positive spirit,” Colgan said. “If people believe in something enough, they’ll find a way to make it happen, and that’s definitely been the case for THON.”

This weekend, although THON will be held virtually, many components are still being livestreamed from the BJC. R&R will be ensuring the safety of not only the building itself but everyone inside as well. Part of its role involves closely monitoring the capacity of the BJC as well as confirming that everyone entering the building is either vaccinated or shows proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the past week.

The security of THON’s virtual aspect is being left to individuals in the community. Anyone participating in THON weekend in any capacity is strongly reminded to follow the State College Borough guidelines, and a reporting service has been implemented to enforce these regulations.

There is an online form that will send all reports to Penn State’s Office of Student Conduct. In addition, people are encouraged to call (814) 234-7150 with any reports to be addressed by the borough. These reports will also be sent to the Office of Student Conduct.

Any report made throughout the weekend is asked to be accompanied by an email to [email protected]. Reports will then be addressed and fundraising penalties will be enforced at the discretion of the fundraising safety director and executive director.

More information about THON 2021 coronavirus guidelines can be found online, as well as in the THON Weekend Spectator Guide.

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About the Author

Abby Han

Abby is a freshman chemistry major from Hershey, Pennsylvania -- which means she's your gal whenever you have a craving for some chocolate. Born and raised a Nittany Lion, she loves all things Penn State. You can typically find her watching Friends, drinking Bubly, or taking timer pics on Snapchat. If you want to exchange cheesy puns, follow her on Twitter @_abbyhan.

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