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THON Director Thursday: Meet 2024 Operations Director Anastasia Mitrovic

Name: Anastasia Mitrovic

Major: Supply chain & information systems

Previous THON Experience:

  • THON 2021 Operations committee member
  • THON 2022 Operations committee member
  • THON 2023 Operations captain (DR liasion)

What made you want to apply for a director position for THON 2024?

Wanting to become a director for THON 2024 came from wanting a chance to give more to an organization that has given me more than I could’ve asked for. Since joining my freshman year, I have been eternally grateful for having the opportunity to have a hand in a cause so much bigger than myself. With OPP, we are able to put in a lot of work behind the scenes that might go unnoticed, though being able to see the events that we host for families run smoothly and ensure that every family and volunteer that attends has an enjoyable time is something that I’m grateful for. Being given the chance to be the OPP director, I am excited to give back to others the same way that people have been able to spark excitement in myself. 

What are your responsibilities as a THON Director?

As the OPPerations director for THON 2024, I will be responsible for prioritizing and protecting the safety of all Four Diamonds families, volunteers, and spectators. Additionally, [I will be] pushing to continue having sustainability at the forefront of our efforts. I am also responsible for overseeing the logistical planning, setup, maintenance, and tear down of the THON 5K, Family Carnival, and THON Weekend. I am the primary liaison between the Bryce Jordan Center, Penn State OPP staff, and the executive committee to collaborate and maintain a trusting relationship. I work with 21 OPP captains and their 500+ committee members to plan and participate in all OPP events, mat cleanings, and committee member training opportunities throughout the year. 

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

Within this position, I have been working hard with those around me to move the efforts of THON to become closer to a zero-waste organization as much as possible. Working to find sustainable alternatives and making those small adjustments this year, so that in a few years we are able to make bigger differences. With that comes a bigger task of working hard to ensure the general knowledge and understanding within the Penn State community about what it means to become more sustainable. Ensuring that this is a group effort, and won’t occur overnight, though working hard with the resources Penn State has to offer, we can continue to move in the correct direction.

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

OPP provides such a different side of THON that has been one of the coolest experiences that I have been able to have during my years in college. We have the beauty of being first in and last out, and we have the chance to do things so that all families have to do is enjoy the events. I have been able to find such hard-working and passionate individuals within THON, but especially within OPP. Not many people think about how everything might get to a pre-THON Weekend event, or event during THON Weekend, but that’s what I love. I enjoy getting to help coordinate behind the scenes so that every family, volunteer, and spectator can enjoy the event. Additionally, we have over 500 committee members who have the most positive attitudes toward a job that might not be considered extremely glamorous. Having the chance to have a hand in the organization’s sustainability efforts is something that not every committee is able to do. Being able to think about the future of this amazing organization and the impact we leave on the world is an amazing opportunity.

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

With the chance to serve as the OPP director for one year, one of the goals I have kept at the center of the work I get the chance to do is to ensure that every single volunteer has a positive experience within THON. Being able to showcase the magic of why we do what we do is something I have been able to constantly remind myself of. I have been able to meet amazing families and amazing people throughout my previous years of involvement, and I hope that every volunteer has a similar experience. Additionally, I want to make sure that this is translated into the work that OPP is able to accomplish, ensuring that we provide a healthy, safe, and clean environment for everyone throughout every event THON hosts during the year and making sure that this does not need to ever be a worry for people who get the chance to attend any event. I hope to work hard to ensure that THON is becoming greener with our sustainability efforts and that this is something that is never an afterthought, but rather on the forefront of our minds when making decisions.

Why do you THON?

Having the chance to grow up in Hershey, I have been able to feel the sense of community that THON provides from a young age. Being able to contribute and give to others is something that became natural to me when deciding to come to Penn State. Having the chance to be a student, but also spend some of my time in college giving to others is an extremely selfless feeling when you see the smiles of families attending events. I love that THON can serve as a way for families to feel that sense of community that I have been able to continually feel. Giving my time to help allow kids to be kids and attend events to enjoy the beauty that THON has to offer is a magical thing. I want every single family to be able to focus on the well-being of every individual in their family, and THON gives me the opportunity to help out in any way.

What’s your favorite THON memory?

My favorite THON memory was getting the chance in THON 2023 to lead my group of committee members onto the event floor for the first time. I had the opportunity to attend THON back in 2020 before I was a student at Penn State. I still remember the feeling of awe that I had the first time I stepped foot on the floor. Having been able to guide this group of individuals throughout the entire year, I had such a connection to every single person. Being able to see the amazement in their faces when they first got to see THON’s magic that weekend on the floor was a full-circle moment that I won’t ever forget.

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

Triceratops! For some reason, it is one that I have always liked how they looked when I was young, so that’s why!

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About the Author

Haylee Yocum

Haylee is a senior studying immunology and infectious disease. She is from Mifflintown, PA, a tiny town south of State College. She is 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 or emailed to [email protected]

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