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THON Director Thursday: Meet THON 2022 Public Relations Director Nolan Marett

Name: Nolan Marett
Major: Neuropsychology

Past THON Experience
Photography committee member for THON 2018
Photography committee member for THON 2019
Photography captain for THON 2020
Social Media captain for THON 2021

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

I spent my entire junior year of high school studying abroad in Madrid, Spain!

What made you want to apply for the Public Relations director position for THON 2022?

Applying to become the Public Relations director was probably the best decision I have made throughout my entire time as a student here at Penn State. After THON Weekend 2021, I knew that there was more work I could put into this organization and the fight towards conquering childhood cancer. I am continually inspired by the passion each volunteer holds towards our mission and the resilience of our Four Diamonds families. I wanted to apply simply because I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t. I love this organization and the cause we fight for, so applying was a no-brainer. I wanted to leave Penn State feeling like I’d made a difference, and THON was the way to do so. Our families deserve nothing but our complete dedication towards their health and journey with childhood cancer. THON has given me so much throughout my time at Penn State, so I just wanted to put in more time to ensure I could give back to the highest degree possible.

What are you responsibilities as the Public Relations director?

As the Public Relations director, it is my responsibility to lead a committee of 26 incredible captains throughout the year to spread THON’s mission. As a committee, we create all video, photo, written, graphic, and creative content on THON’s behalf. We work with local, regional, and national press to spread THON’s mission all while upholding a cohesive and nationally recognized brand. We organize social media campaigns to raise funds and awareness of THON’s mission in conquering childhood cancer. Personally, I work directly with professional contacts who are just as passionate about spreading THON’s mission as I am and act as the direct communication between the executive committee and the Public Relations committee. I get to work with individuals at Four Diamonds to share our families’ stories with the world to inspire action and encourage anyone to join our fight. 

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

This year, I wanted to focus on education. Each year THON gains hundreds if not thousands of supporters across the country and globe who become invested in THON’s mission and the work we do as student volunteers in the fight against childhood cancer. I wanted to utilize my position to show the THON community all the little intricacies about the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. At the beginning of the year, we held the first-ever “One Community, One Mission” campaign, which aligned with our recruitment efforts and highlighted each of the sixteen different committees within the organization. We’ve shared stories of different organizations and highlighted their efforts towards raising funds and providing emotional support for our families. We came up with innovative ways to share family stories and launched a new project honoring the children we have lost to their battles. I’ve had the honor of learning so much about the THON community and have been privileged to share that knowledge with the world. 

What makes the Public Relations committee so cool,fun, and/or important?

I love Public Relations because it truly is a committee like no other when it comes to creativity. The group of individuals I get to work with each and every day are some of the most talented I have ever met. I have the privilege of seeing photographs and videos come to life through graphics and other creative forms of art. PR has an entire team dedicated to working with the press to spread THON’s mission further and further each year. Getting to work alongside a committee that acts as the direct connection between THON and the public has been incredible as I truly have the opportunity to witness the passion each member of our community holds towards our mission and our families.

What are the overall goals you hope to reach with your committee for THON 2022?

A big goal of mine throughout THON 2022 has been to ensure the Public Relations committee is committed to representing all parts of THON. All of our volunteers and community members deserve to feel heard and represented in everything we do. We’ve added closed captioning to all videos to create a new standard, brought livestream components to each and every event throughout the year, and continued sharing diverse stories from throughout the entire THON community. We have worked to share family stories on a national level to spread the mission of both THON and Four Diamonds further than ever before. We hosted innovative social media campaigns to both raise funds and awareness in our fight against childhood cancer.

Why do you THON?

Although it might sound cliché, I THON For The Kids. Every single decision we make goes towards ensuring our families feel loved and supported throughout some of the most difficult moments of their lives. I THON because, as student volunteers, we commit ourselves every day to bettering the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals. The work we do spans far beyond the scope of Penn State. We fund research that has the potential to end childhood cancer as we know it – and isn’t that the goal of this all? THON isn’t just the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, it is a beacon of hope for thousands of families impacted by an illness as abhorrent as childhood cancer. I THON because, simply put, THON matters. As a volunteer, my passion is and will always be For The Kids.

What’s your favorite THON memory?

My favorite THON memory would have to be standing on the floor with my co-captains during the Final Four hours of THON 2020. Watching the family speakers that Sunday afternoon bravely sharing their stories while surrounded by so many of my closest friends that I’ve just met that year was one of the best and most touching moments of my entire time at Penn State. There is something so special about being at the BJC throughout THON Weekend, but something even more touching about those Final Four hours. In that short period of time, everything from the year truly begins to come together. Every late night in the HUB, every meeting, every phone call, it all pays off. As I stated earlier, everything we do is for the families we support and love. At that moment during THON 2020, I felt so fulfilled knowing the difference I had made that year and feeling as though I had truly contributed to the fight against childhood cancer.

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

I would be an Ankylosaurus. I honestly know nothing about dinosaurs, so I looked up “cool dinosaurs” and that was the coolest one I found!

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About the Author

Dana June Nunemacher

Dana is a senior, who is studying public relations. She is from the 570 and yes, she has watched The Office. Her passions in life include drinking unsweetened iced tea and spreading her love for agriculture (yee haw)!

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