THON Director Thursday: Meet THON 2024 Entertainment Director Jacob Santos
Name: Jacob Santos
Major: Biobehavioral health
Previous THON Experience:
THON 2021 Entertainment committee member
THON 2022 Entertainment Captain (DJ)
THON 2023 Entertainment Captain (crowd entertainment)
What made you want to apply for a director position for THON 2024?
Coming into my first year of college, I knew that I wanted to dedicate myself to an organization that seeks to give back to the surrounding Penn State community and beyond. It was THON that welcomed me with open arms and ever since then, I have sought to give back to our Four Diamonds families through THON and push this organization to new heights.
My involvement within THON has allowed me to see our mission come to life, and I have learned the importance of creating small yet influential moments for our families to remember forever. I wanted to be a director so that I could continue creating these moments for those who we support and have a pivotal role in the fight against childhood cancer. THON serves as a beacon of hope for so many people throughout the Penn State community, and it never ceases to amaze me how much we can accomplish to support those at the forefront of our mission.
Throughout these past three years, being a THON volunteer has transformed my life in more ways than one. There is no better way to give back to the organization that has given me so much than to be a member of the executive committee for the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.
What are your responsibilities as a THON director?
As the Entertainment Director for THON 2024, I have the special opportunity to work alongside 26 captains and 50+ committee members to provide the highest level of production value in performances and audio/visual entertainment at all pre-THON events and THON Weekend. We do this by creating the THON Weekend timeline, DJing over 50+ pre-THON events, contracting live performances, executing crowd engagement initiatives, and developing ways to connect with viewers on the live stream. Additionally, I serve as the primary liaison to the production staff at the Bryce Jordan Center where I work with them to contract production companies and performances following university policy.
What do you want to implement in your position this year that’s unique and differs from years past?
For this year, I want to focus in on increasing accessibility at all events throughout the year and ensure that anyone who attends a THON event feels welcomed and supported. Additionally, I am excited to rethink how entertainment crafts the overall THON Weekend timeline and incorporate new programming/talent that has never been seen before.
What makes your committee so cool, fun, and/or important?
Entertainment is one electric committee because we work year-round to create an environment at all events that allows our families and those who support our mission to create memories that will last a lifetime. My involvement within this committee has allowed me to see our mission come to life, and I have learned the importance of creating small yet influential moments for our families to remember forever. Entertainment plays a huge role in creating these moments, so I am looking forward to seeing what this committee accomplishes this year!
What are the overall goals you hope to reach with your committee for THON 2024?
For the entertainment committee this year, my main goal is to further our engagement with performing arts groups on campus and expand upon our existing talent database. Entertainment is unique in the way that we provide a platform for so many to showcase their talents and abilities to the rest of the world so ensuring that everyone feels welcomed and included at the events we help run is a big goal of mine this year.
Why do you THON?
I THON to instill a sense of hope, love, and community among our Four Diamonds families and allow kids to experience childhood to the fullest. This organization serves as a beacon of hope for so many people throughout the Penn State community, and it never ceases to amaze me how much we can accomplish to support those at the forefront of our mission.
What’s your favorite THON memory?
Although I have created so many memories through my time as a THON volunteer, one that sticks out to me would be the total reveal of THON 2022. THON Weekend 2022 was the first time I was able to experience the magic of this event in person. Standing with my fellow captains on the floor of the BJC and waiting in anticipation of the total reveal was an indescribable experience. Seeing the total being raised on stage reminded me of what the THON community is capable of and how we strive to support those at the forefront of our mission. All of our efforts throughout the year culminated in that moment, and it will be something I’ll never forget.
Per Onward State tradition, if you could be any dinosaur, which one would you be and why?
Stegosaurus! I think the plates and spikes on their backs are super cool.
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