Double The Fun: Longtime THON Volunteer Takes The Floor As Both Dancer & Captain
For most THON volunteers, one role is enough, whether that be committee member, captain, org member, or dancer.
Morgan Bonner, though, has few limits on what roles she’s taking on at THON 2023.
Hailing from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Bonner was familiar with THON before she came to Penn State.
“My school had a really big Mini-THON program. I started my involvement with them in middle school, actually, and that moved up to high school,” Bonner said.
Bonner discussed how the structure of Mini-THON is very similar to the structure at Penn State when it pertains to both committees and captains. In both her freshman and sophomore years, she served on a fundraising committee.
Her experiences propelled her to the head captain position for the finance committee. In that role, she worked with checks and donations that her organization received, and she managed overall finances.
For her senior year, Bonner took over the role of overall director at her high school’s Mini-THON, which is the equivalent of the executive director role here in Happy Valley.
When she came to Penn State, Bonner decided to apply to be on a committee and was placed on Donor and Alumni Relations (DAR). She continued to be a committee member in DAR throughout all of college, until this year, when she took on the role of captain within the DAR committee.
Bonner said she had been relatively involved with THON through her sorority, Phi Sigma Sigma, but that ultimately, the bulk of her time lay with her DAR committees.
When it came time for Phi Sig to choose its dancers for THON 2023, Bonner knew that she wanted one of the spots.
“I knew since I was little that I wanted to dance,” she shared. “It was a big end goal of mine.”
However, since she hadn’t spent as much time working with THON through sorority, she knew members who had been more involved would be more likely to be chosen as dancers. Instead, Bonner’s best friend and fellow Phi Sig sister, Everly Kase, proposed they try to dance together as an independent dancer couple.
In the first few weeks of the fall semester, Bonner and her partner created a DonorDrive and registered to be a potential independent dancer couple. For the next few months, it was full speed ahead with fundraising efforts.
To even be entered into the lottery, IDCs need to raise a total of $3,000. Each additional $500 raised is an additional ticket added to the lottery. Therefore, if you raise more money, you theoretically have a better chance at being selected as an IDC.
In order to reach those goals, Bonner and Kase really focused on matching days offered by THON, as well as sharing their stories with any potential donors and reaching out directly to family and friends.
However, even if they hadn’t been selected to dance in THON, that would have been completely fine with Bonner.
“Yes, dancing is eredible. But all the money you’ve raised the whole year is even better. You fundraise for the kids; you don’t fundraise to dance,” she said.
In January, Bonner and Kase were selected through the lottery system to dance in THON 2023, and they could breathe a sigh of relief.
In the past few months, though, her role as a DAR captain had ramped up. Along with her own responsibilities as a captain, which increasingly led up to THON, Bonner continued to stay in touch with her fellow captains to make sure they were also prepared for the weekend.
Thankfully, Donor and Alumni Relations is not as intensive as a committee like Hospitality or Dancer Relations during THON Weekend. Bonner seemed to have complete trust in leaving any of her duties to her fellow captains and noted that she would be seeing many of them throughout the weekend.
“Captains can come to the floor during breaks in their schedule, so I’m really excited to give those captains a bit of a break and help encourage them as much as they’ll be encouraging me,” Bonner explained. “There’s also a lot of captains on my committee dancing as well. Now we have that many more people we know on the floor, which is really going to help THON weekend when we’re dancing.”
After being involved in THON and its mission for so long, Bonner’s reasoning for why she THONs is because it has simply always been a passion of hers, especially considering all of the incredible people that she’s met through THON.
At the end of the day, though, Bonner really does do it all For the Kids.
“We have a timeline,” she said. “I have 46 hours that I’m going to be in pain, but these kids don’t have a timeline. They don’t have a countdown.”
If Bonner could share one thing with every Penn State student, it’s that they should take a leap and join the THON community in any capacity.
With her graduation soon approaching, Bonner anticipates returning to THON and staying involved with the THON community as much as she can as an alum.
“Every year when I leave THON, no matter how nervous I am for it, I always crave more,” Bonner said. “This year, I’ve accomplished everything I wanted to, but I’m craving more and trying to find a way to fulfill that and do something else with THON after I graduate.”
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