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THON Director Thursday: Meet THON 2022 Entertainment Director Caleb Klemick

Name: Caleb Klemick

Major: Political Science and Public Relations

Past THON Experience:
THON 2019: Crowd Entertainment committee member
THON 2020: Entertainment DJ captain
THON 2021: Entertainment Crowd Engagement DJ captain

Name an interesting, weird, or quirky fact about yourself:
I’m deathly afraid of water!

What made you want to apply for the Entertainment director position for THON 2022?
I wanted to be the Entertainment Director because my involvement with THON is the most personally and professionally fulfilling thing that I do. This organization has given me lifelong friends, unforgettable experiences,
and the ability to make a positive impact on the lives of so many children and families. I wanted to be a director so I could give back to the community that’s given so much to me, pay tribute to my former captains and directors who invested so much in me, and ensure that, in the future, Penn State students continue to lead the fight against childhood cancer through an efficient, adaptable, and enduring THON Organization.

What are your responsibilities as the Entertainment director?
My main responsibility is to lead a group of 26 captains and 50 committee members who are responsible for creating an exciting, engaging, and family-friendly environment at every THON Event, up to and including THON Weekend. Additionally, I’m the primary liaison between THON and the Bryce Jordan Center Production Staff. I coordinate the contracting of outside production companies and performers in accordance with university policy, and I participate in a variety of focus groups to ensure Entertainment continues to grow and improve its engagement efforts every year.

What do you want to implement in your position this year that’s unique and differs from years past?
I’m working with our friends and partners at 46 Live to ensure that there is a robust, engaging livestream at every major pre-THON event and THON Weekend. For the THON Weekend livestream, I’m working to continue increasing the interactivity and overall production value to ensure kids in treatment, Penn State alumni, and friends of THON are able to fully participate in the magic of THON Weekend and be empowered by our community from anywhere in the world.

What makes the Entertainment Committee so cool, fun, and/or important?
At the core of my beliefs about THON is the idea that every volunteer is essential to making our organization successful. Every committee plays an integral role in the success of our organization, the furtherance of our
mission, and the support we provide for our families. But, with that being said, I also believe Entertainment plays a special role within the THON community.

THON events are characterized by the fun, exciting, and family-friendly environment that we work to create. The excitement that we bring allows our volunteers and stakeholders to enjoy themselves while supporting such an amazing cause. The excitement we bring allows our families to forget about the hospital trips, treatment plans, and other struggles they’re facing, and it allows kids to just be kids. 

What are the overall goals you hope to reach with your committee for THON 2022?
I’m hoping to institutionalize everything Entertainment learned about virtual engagement during THON 2021 and continue to use it as a powerful tool to expand our reach and lower some of the barriers to participation in our events. I’m also looking to bring DEI to the forefront of Entertainment’s work by ensuring our events are easily accessible to everyone and leveraging the size of our platform to lift up underrepresented voices in our community and ensure every THON stakeholder can identify with and enjoy the entertainment at our events.

Why do you THON?
I THON for the day we can dance in celebration of a cure. Until then, I THON to support our families and provide them with a temporary reprieve from the anxiety and uncertainty that comes with a cancer diagnosis. I THON for Joyce Ortiz and all of our angels to ensure they always live on in the hearts and minds of our volunteers and stakeholders.

What’s your favorite THON memory?
Watching Joyce Ortiz rap “Ice Ice Baby” at the 2019 THON 5K. Joyce was one of the coolest, spunkiest, and most inspiring people I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. She was a natural-born performer. Getting to share that moment with her and see her do what she truly loved was something I will never forget. Joyce is an angel now, but she will always live on in my heart and in the hearts of the countless other people she impacted while she was with us.

Per Onward State tradition, if you could be any dinosaur, which one would you be and why?
Brachiosaurus for sure. It’s like a giraffe but way cooler.

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About the Author

Mackenzie Cullen

Sadly, Mackenzie graduated from Penn State in 2022. She majored in English and served as one of Onward State's associate editors. You can keep up with her life and send compliments to @MackenzieC__ on Twitter.

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