THON Director Thursday: Meet THON 2022 Fundraising Safety Director Carol Melo

Name: Carol Melo

Major: Economics

Past THON Experience:
THON 2020 Rules and Regulations committee member
THON 2021 Rules and Regulation Fundraising Safety fundraising development captain

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

I could eat lasagna for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, but only if it is my
mom’s. (Lasagna without ricotta cheese >)

What made you want to apply for the Fundraising Safety director position for THON 2022?

For as long as I can remember, I have lived my life helping others. I was first introduced to THON in my high school because of Mini-THON, where I was lucky enough to attend and participate for four years. When I decided to come to Penn State, I knew that THON was something I had to be a part of. During my first year at Penn State, I attended THON Weekend as a spectator and although I was not part of a committee, I was so impacted by the magic and energy inside the Bryce Jordan Center that I knew I couldn’t go another year without participating. My second and third years gave me different perspectives
regarding the operations of the organization. I want to be a facilitator for anyone inside the THON community. The more I learned, the more I wanted to give and that is why I applied to be a director. The Penn State community inspired me to continue to dedicate my time and making an impact in finding a cure for childhood cancer.

What are your responsibilities as the Fundraising Safety director?

As the Fundraising Safety director, I am responsible for the administration of the THON 2022 rule book to ensure the safety of our volunteers and the integrity of all of our practices as an organization. I work alongside all of my co-directors in ensuring that we serve as the best resources possible for our fundraising organizations. I oversee a team of 19 captains who are responsible for the administration of our online fundraising website, DonorDrive, communicating with and aiding all of our student organizations in their fundraising, and monitoring all of our fundraising practices for safety and effectiveness. During THON weekend, I, my captains, and our committee members work alongside the Event Safety committee to ensure the safety of all THON Weekend attendees.

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

As we transition back to in-person events and interactions, I think last year as a whole taught us how to reach audiences that are not near us. We were able to spread our mission and fundraiser all around the country and ensured that all of our audiences that were miles away felt connected to THON. Something I wanted to implement this year was to find the balance between in-person and virtual fundraisers to spread the mission and reach as many audiences as possible in our fundraising efforts. We work alongside organizations to help them with their fundraising ideas and brainstorm with them safe and efficient ways to fundraise to continue that dynamic and help them with hybrid environments.

What makes the Fundraising Safety committee so cool, fun, and/or important?

The Fundraising Safety committee plays a role in both aspects of THON. We work all year long assisting each organization with their fundraising practices and ensure all of our volunteers’ fundraising methods are safe and efficient. As THON Weekend gets closer, we become an event-focused committee and work
alongside our counterpart, the Rules and Regulations Event Safety committee, to ensure the safety of every volunteer, spectator, and family during THON weekend. I think this is a unique experience because we get to be involved in both aspects of the safety of THON—fundraising and event.

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

One of my goals for THON 2022 was to increase organizations’ understanding as to our responsibilities relative to them. We want organizations to see us as a support system and resource and we want to assist in the creation of in-person and hybrid fundraisers for them to execute at any point throughout the year.

We also want to expand our resources and combine our ideas with the Communications and Donor Alumni Relations liaison to help smaller organizations and new organizations reach their fundraising goals. Another goal was to create a more inclusive environment when it comes to fundraising practices, knowing that not all organizations have the same resources and number of members. I knew that different resources and support were needed for various organizations.

Why do you THON?

I THON for all of the possibilities, and the moment when no family has to hear the words “Your child has cancer.” I THON for all of the angels and all of the families. They show me what courage, wisdom, honesty, and strength truly are. I THON for the constant support that our efforts create for all families and finally, I THON for the future because kids are our future.

What’s your favorite THON memory?

My favorite THON memory changes every year. I think my favorite one right now is seeing the magic that THON created last year during unusual times. THON was not in a specific location, but it was more of a feeling that you could take anywhere. Everyone had a piece of THON and you were able to see the impact this organization creates. It makes it my favorite THON memory because everyone’s experience was completely apart, but we were all connected at the end of the day for this cause and For The Kids®.

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

I would be a Pachycephalosaurus because they are strong and look determined, and this is how my close friends describe me.

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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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