THON Director Thursday: Meet 2024 Hospitality Director Sam Mazzoni

Name: Sam Mazzoni

Major: Biobehavioral health
Minor: Health policy administration

Previous THON Experience:

THON 2021: Hospitality Committee Member
THON 2022: Hospitality Committee Member, Primary THON chair (Whiplash Dance Team), Director of Alternative Fundraisers (Delta Gamma)
THON 2023: Hospitality Promotions Captain

What made you want to apply to be a Director for THON 2024?

The impact that this organization has on children, families, the Penn State community, and my own life has been the driving force behind continuing my involvement in THON.

Throughout my time on the Hospitality committee, I have been able to see just how impactful my own hard work can be on Four Diamonds families, let alone the hard work of thousands of student volunteers coming together in support of our mission. Throughout my involvement in various aspects of THON through organizations and committees, I gained many connections with other passionate and dedicated volunteers, which has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life.

To make the greatest possible impact on children and families impacted by childhood cancer as a director this year is truly an honor, and I cannot wait to support Hospitality and the entire THON community as we “Fuel The Fight” this year!

What are your responsibilities as a THON Director?

The Hospitality committee is responsible for acquiring all of the food and beverage donations that feed our thousands of families, dancers, and volunteers at all pre-THON and THON events. As the Hospitality Director, I help coordinate the relationships with many of these donors along with leading my amazing committee of 20 captains and 200+ committee members. This year, I plan to be a strong advocate for increased education for Hospitality surrounding food safety, food intolerances and allergies, and all special dietary needs so that we can be as inclusive and safe as possible at our events.

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

I hope to expand our ability to donate leftover food items to recipients who specifically serve food-insecure populations to assist in addressing food insecurity in our community. We work with some incredible places currently, however, this year I am pushing to expand our contacts to reroute food from becoming waste to those in need.

I am also working with my Hospitality captains on many exciting ways that we can tie in our Four Diamonds families to our role. I aim to expand the profit share fundraisers that Hospitality plans to create more fundraising opportunities with diverse businesses to support our dynamic local restaurant scene and raise more money to support our families.

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

Hospitality gets all the food we serve to dancers and families donated, and we coordinate the many meals and beverages that we serve both at THON weekend and pre-THON events. Our committee “Fuels the Fight” for the entire THON Community and we absolutely love being able to connect with so many people through our role.

HOS has a super special, goofy energy that we bring to just about anything that we do. We always have fun, no matter the task, and really find joy in the little moments, which is so special to our committee. We also love pineapples, as they are the international symbol of hospitality, so lots of our committee merchandise features them, and we love pineapple-themed gear for events!

What are the overall goals you hope to achieve with your committee for THON 2024?

Overall, I have a heavy focus on sustainability this year. This includes my plans regarding food waste but also includes different initiatives like reducing single-use plastic waste on my committee and ensuring we are composting effectively.

Food is something that brings people together, so I hope to serve delicious meals to our various community members to help fuel the fight against childhood cancer. I also hope to create an amazing experience for all of the Hospitality captains and committee members to make THON 2024 the best it can be!

Why do you THON?

I originally got involved with THON to support other families experiencing a cancer diagnosis following my mom’s own battle with breast cancer back in 2019. Now, I THON for our incredible families and to provide the outstanding care and support that THON and Four Diamonds give to them. This organization is truly special and is limitless in the ways that it can change lives, and I am so grateful to have a small part in what allows all of these students to unite in the fight against childhood cancer. I THON for more laughter, more fun, and more love.

What’s your favorite THON memory?

My favorite THON memory was getting to see my sorority’s THON child this year at THON weekend. After a recent scare and hospital stay, I was just ecstatic to hear that she would be able to make it to the event. After a long year of hard work, getting to meet up with her at THON weekend and catch up about life with her and her mom was one of the most full-circle and rewarding moments within my THON journey. She is someone who is so special to me, and I am so grateful to be able to support her family and so many others like her through this incredible philanthropy.

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

I would be a pterodactyl. I am afraid of birds, so I feel like being able to fly would alleviate some of my concerns about being attacked from the air.

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About the Author

Haylee Yocum

Haylee is a 2024 graduate of Penn State with a degree in immunology and infectious disease. She relocated to Williamsport but will not be taking any questions about what’s next in her career. Haylee continues to be fueled by dangerous amounts of caffeine and dreams of smashing the patriarchy. Any questions or discussion about Taylor Swift’s best songs can be directed to @hayleeq8 on Twitter if you must.

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