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‘Not Just Another Manic Monday’: An Open Letter To Cancel Classes The Monday After THON

Dear Penn State administration,

Students raised over $15 million For The Kids and for the fight against pediatric cancer, as announced during THON Weekend. For the second consecutive year, THON secured another record-breaking total and has helped over 4,800 families throughout the years.

THON’s mission is to “provide emotional and financial support, spread awareness, and ensure funding for critical research,” which was surely accomplished this weekend. THON has succeeded in doing so for the past four decades.

Students supported this mission through their fraternities, sororities, general/special interest organizations, THON committees, Commonwealth Campuses, and as dancers and spectators.

More than 16,500 students are involved with the largest student-run philanthropy each year, which is roughly a third of the student body at University Park. Hundreds stood for the full 46 hours, and hundreds of others came close in the stands.

Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi, football head coach James Franklin, and Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Pat Kraft took the stage during THON Weekend to express how proud they were of the Penn State community.

“THON is our love letter to every Four Diamonds family,” Bendapudi said. “This is our love letter to show humanity what our students are about.”

“There is nothing like this in the world,” Kraft said. “When you walk in this building, even in my first time, you feel the love and the energy. What you’re doing is inspirational to the families, to everybody.”

Although it was greatly appreciated and generous of them to share their support, it seems as though Penn State administrators are unaware of the mental and physical toll THON puts on the students involved.

Ultimately, why are the needs of students being ignored?

Participating in THON isn’t a university-approved absence. It’s obviously optional to participate, but so are most things in life.

The reality is that most dancers and participants skip class the Monday after THON. Logistically, it’s a nightmare. After standing for 46 hours, it feels criminal that some of these students have to wake up for a mandatory four-hour 8 a.m. lab or study for an exam.

Some professors even purposely make assignments due that Monday to drive home the point that THON is a choice.

Rather than making the student body feel guilty for wanting needing a day to recover from a worthy yet exhausting weekend, the least administration could do is provide them with a day to rejuvenate. We’ve instituted Wellness Days before, so how hard can it be to add one single day off to the spring semester?

It’s not just another manic Monday. We sure as hell struggled to get out of bed yesterday. After a long and rigorous weekend, students need to rest up and “recoup” in order to prepare for the week to come.

For the students who did manage to make it to class, there’s no way they were functioning at their full potential. Do we really want a bunch of zombies walking around campus? Students are mentally and physically exhausted post-THON.

Each student who THONs has a reason or person in mind to keep them going all 46 hours, so they should be rewarded rather than given nasty emails and remarks from professors who refuse to accommodate their needs.

We have a year to institute change before THON 2024, so let’s start now. At the very least, let’s send it to the Board of Trustees for a vote.

With love and FTK,

Evan

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About the Author

Evan Halfen

Evan Halfen is a junior broadcast journalism major from Newark, DE, and is one of Onward State's associate editors. Evan loves all things Penn State, tailgating, being loud, just about any beach, and his puppies, Butterscotch and Wentzy. You can direct all your tips, roasts, and jokes to his Instagram: @evan.halfen or email: [email protected].

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