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THON Director Thursday: Meet THON 2023 Entertainment Director Rene Richardson

Name: Rene Richardson

Major: Integrated masters of accounting, Minors: Legal environment of business & management information systems

Past THON experience:

THON 2020 Entertainment Committee member, THON 2021 Entertainment DJ captain, THON 2022 Entertainment Pep Rally captain, THON 2023 Entertainment director (current)

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

I’ve played saxophone for 12 years now! Definitely was forced to as a kid but I’ve grown into it and love it so much! I now play occasionally at events and was in the Pep Band at Penn State for the past 3 years. 

What made you want to apply for a Director position for THON 2023?

One day we will all dance together in celebration of a cure. I wanted to be a Director for THON to help achieve that goal—that is why I THON. I believe that Entertainment provides the energy and lively spirit to THON that helps keep the families and volunteers thriving during pre-THON and THON Weekend events. We aren’t the people who directly interact with families, fundraise, or provide research, but the work we do makes an impact in its own special way. THON has given so much to me and I want to give my all back to this organization.

What are your responsibilities as a THON Director? 

As the Entertainment Director, I am responsible for leading a Captain committee of 25 to provide music and live entertainment at THON events throughout the year. The Entertainment Director also acts as the primary contact with Production Management at the Bryce Jordan Center and is in charge of contracting sound companies and performances in accordance with University policy. This includes the setup of the stage, lights, and sound for THON Weekend. We ensure the best experience for spectators and families in person and digitally through our livestreams.

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

We are currently working on this right now, but I am looking forward to implementing Spectator feedback at the end of THON Weekend! We get feedback from dancers and make changes based on that, so I believe we can do the same for spectators so everyone has a great experience!

What makes your committee so cool, fun, and/or important? 

I believe that every committee is important to furthering THON’s mission and goal! Entertainment specifically is super fun because we get to do a lot of the behind-the-scenes work! We get to know everything that is happening for each event and get to have a helping hand in them all. I also love the games we get to play and our work is to basically just make sure everyone is having fun!

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

I am very excited to see the ways THON and the Entertainment Committee can continue to further THON’s mission, as well as our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts this year. I want us to have a supporting presence to the orgs and community groups that also support us. A major goal of mine is to continue getting spectator feedback for THON Weekend and see how we can continue to enhance everyone’s experience. I can’t wait to see how I can support my team in the goals and visions they have this year and see how far they’ll go.

Why do you THON? 

I THON so that one day we will dance in celebration of a cure! The work we all collectively do together is making a major impact on the current and future generations. 

What’s your favorite THON memory?

THON 2020 was my first ever THON Weekend. I remember being a committee member and hearing about how amazing THON Weekend was, but I could not really imagine it. My first shift of the weekend was on the floor right before the dancers stood. This was the best moment for me. There is a video capturing the awe and amazement in my eyes as I entered the floor for the first time ever.

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

Micropachycephalosaurus. It’s one of the longest names for a dinosaur and I don’t even know how to pronounce it, but it looks cool!

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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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