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‘It Means Everything’: Nittanyville President Fulfills Goal By Dancing In THON 2022

Matthew Solomon, who’s known to many as Nittanyville’s president, knew he wanted to dance in THON ever since he was a wide-eyed freshman. Now, three years later, he’s made that dream a reality during THON 2022.

Coming from outside of Pennsylvania, Solomon arrived in Happy Valley as a freshman without a clear understanding of what THON actually was. When he finally experienced it for the first time, it was love at first sight.

“Ever since I got to Penn State, THON was something that I always heard about, but I never really knew what it was because I’m from New York,” Solomon said. “When I got up here, I joined my fraternity and went to THON a lot and immediately fell in love with it. I knew that senior year, possibly junior year, I’d want to dance.”

Solomon instantly started to get more involved with the organization. He became the family relations chair for his fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau, the following year. He started to become closer to the families his fraternity had. It was important to him to represent the families as best as he could and to give back as much as possible.

There’s one family in particular that he’s gotten super close with. Their son, Ryan got to ring the bell in Hershey in late 2021, signaling that he had conquered his treatment.

Solomon and his fraternity inherited Ryan’s family when Solomon was a sophomore, the same year he became the family relations chair. Solomon was able to build a bond with Ryan and his family to the point where he said it’s like they’re his actual family.

Ryan’s story is a prime example of what inspires and motivates Solomon to make a difference.

“Just hearing their story and hearing everything that Ryan’s had to overcome, as well as all the other family members, really inspired me,” he said. “Right away, I wanted to get even more involved than I already was.”

Being the president of Nittanyville, Solomon has a lot of people in his corner rooting for him this weekend. Recently, several of his Nittanyville peers have reached out to wish him luck during THON Weekend.

“They’ve reached out to send me luck,” Solomon said. “A lot of them will also be there and some I might give my passes to, so they’re all super supportive. It’s just another great example of the Penn State community coming together for something bigger than itself.”

Solomon’s fortunate enough to be joined by a few of his friends down on the floor of the BJC, as they’re also dancing in THON 2022. Prior to the start of THON, they met up to watch the NFL games on Championship Sunday to talk strategy when it comes to preparation.

He’s a firm believer that any student who comes to Penn State should participate in THON. He encourages students to “dive in” to what he calls the greatest event Penn State has to offer.

“There’s so many different ways to get involved with it through clubs, fraternities, THON orgs, or just showing up as a general student,” Solomon said. “Definitely, if you’re coming here, the first thing that you should try and get involved with is THON. It’s such a unique experience. It’s a way for students to make an impact on something that affects so many people. Having cancer has touched everybody. So, it’s a way to get involved with that and especially help kids with cancer.”

While participating in THON isn’t new for Solomon, being a dancer is a fresh experience. Ultimately, he says he couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.

“It means everything,” he said. “THON is the greatest event of the year at Penn State. There’s nothing like it. There’s no other day in the country that’s like this. Just having the entire student body and the entire community come together for something and for such a big cause that means so much to so many people.”

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a senior majoring in journalism and is suddenly Onward State's managing editor. He grew up in Lindenhurst, New York, and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his bad sports takes, follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]

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