Written By: Paige Balliet and Anna Janaszek
What is your name and major?
My name is Julia Jablonski and I am a computer science major.
What committee are you a captain for and what are your responsibilities as a captain?
I’m a THON™ Communications Captain! As a Communications Captain, I work on educating the THON community with four different facets of COMM. There’s diversity, equity, and inclusion, organization development, outreach, and education. I work in the organization development section of it. I am the organization’s Resource Coordinator, and in that role, I basically create resources and one sheets for orgs to use. Also, as a Communications Captain I work on staffing the THON office, and I also run the Liaison In Training program, which is basically a program for committee members who want more leadership experience. Committee members get paired with a liaison on COMM and they get to see what the captains do. I am also a captain of a THON Communications Committee, shout out to Jablonsters Inc.-you guys are the best!
What is your prior THON experience and what kind of things did you do in those positions?
My first two years in THON I was a Dancer Relations Committee Member. As a Dancer Relations CM, I worked on supporting dancers during THON Weekend. Last year, I was a DASH Developer Captain for technology, so I was a Technology Captain, and in that role I helped maintain and work on projects on dash.thon.org. My job was to work on the website during that year-working on projects and making sure everything is running smoothly for THON Weekend. During THON Weekend, it’s working at the tech booth, so if anyone had any questions about their digital line passes or anything online related they come to us and we try to fix them. It was super fun and very rewarding, and it showed a different side of THON that I have never seen before.
When were you introduced to THON and what made you want to get involved?
My older sister went to Penn State also, and she was on a Dancer Relations committee her freshman year. We had friends from highschool that came to Penn State and did THON. I also was involved in mini-THON at my high school, so I knew of THON’s existence. I knew what THON stood for and what they were doing, so I wanted to get more involved when I got here. I was on morale in mini-THON, which is the same thing as Dancer Relations, so I wanted to do it here because it was super cool and that is how I was introduced!
What’s your favorite THON memory?
I have two, my first favorite THON memory was my freshman year when I walked on the floor for the first time. It’s so cute because we have a video of all the freshmen walking on the floor for the first time from my committee and you can see how excited we were. I have never experienced that much love, joy, and excitement at one time because I didn’t realize there were going to be signs in the crowd or that there were going to be that many people. I was there when dancers stood and it was magic, words cannot describe how cool that was. My second favorite was last year. I was so incredibly fortunate that I was able to stand on the floor for the final four. Seeing the total come up after the weekend and realizing how much money that we were able to raise and being surrounded by some of my best friends I had made that year was a feeling like no other. I felt so accomplished in the moment and I was like, “We made a difference”.
Why do you THON?
My reason for being involved in THON grows every year. I THON for the families and for the people I have met along the way. One of my sister’s best friends was a student here and she took her life two years ago. She was a DRCM, and she loved THON more than anything in the entire world. She has also been part of my reason to THON, to keep spreading THON’s mission for her. THON has given me so much, and I want to keep spreading that love and joy forward.