by Ava Huntley

Amanda Mielnicki is a Penn State senior who is dancing in THON this year for her sorority, Alpha Xi Delta. This year Alpha Xi Delta’s THON experience looks different than it has in years before. Alpha Xi Delta and their paired fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha are renting an AirBnb right outside of State College for their seven dancers to stay in for the weekend. Before arriving at the AirBnb the organizations THON chairs transformed the house into the “Wild West” decorating with balloons, bandanas, cowboy hats and bails of hay to help motivate their dancers to keep going.

Being from Roseland, New Jersey Amanda didn’t know much about THON before coming to Penn State. She was first introduced to the 46 hour dance marathon by her sorority during her freshman year. She describes her first THON as one of her favorite experiences throughout her college career. “You only get to feel that crazy energy of experiencing THON for the first time once, I stood in the BJC for 41 hours that weekend,” Amanda says as she thinks back.

From then on, Amanda knew that she wanted to continue being involved in the dance marathon for her next four years at Penn State. Amanda always had an interest in dancing the full 46 hours, but last year when Alpha Xi Delta’s THON child Lesenia Moreno gained her wings Amanda knew she had to “Stand For Sen” this year. “I really wanted to be able to dance for her because she is someone that I did have a connection with, she inspired me to dance in her memory,” Amanda shares.

To stay motivated throughout THON weekend Amanda says she reads the encouraging words her family and friends have sent through dancer mail, as well as reminding herself the reason

behind why she chose to dance. “I’m trying to put myself in the kids shoes, the whole reason I’m doing this is to support the kids since they go through so much”, Amanda reflects.

Alpha Xi Delta and Lambda Chi Alpha dance in THON every year for the Westrick-Maldonados, Moreno-Cantareros, Palms, LeFevres and Hurleys. To support Amanda and her sorority Alpha Xi Delta this weekend visit their donor drive here.