Penn State World Campus, the online learning platform of Pennsylvania State University, is not only dedicated to providing flexible and high-quality education but also shares a deep connection to THON™, the university’s annual dance marathon. Despite being geographically dispersed, World Campus students actively participate in THON’s mission to raise funds and support childhood cancer research and treatment. Through virtual engagement, fundraising events, and digital outreach, World Campus students contribute their time and resources to this inspiring philanthropic endeavor. Their commitment to THON exemplifies the Penn State community’s unwavering dedication to making a positive impact, even in the virtual realm, demonstrating that the spirit of philanthropy knows no boundaries in the Penn State family.
This month’s challenge for organizations was based on DonorDrive Customization. World Campus achieved one hundred percent page customization across their organization, and subsequently earned this year’s first Organization Spotlight!
For this spotlight we had the opportunity to interview the World Campus THON Chair for the 2023-2024 fundraising year. Danielle Ray is a fifth-year student from Hershey, Pennsylvania. She is currently studying to obtain her online MBA on top of her THON commitment. Her previous THON experience includes being the 2022-2023 World Campus THON Chair and the 2021-2022 World Campus THON Finance Chair.
Check out her responses to a few of our questions:
What is special about your org’s THON efforts?
Danielle: “Hopes and dreams can live on… We are an organization that encourages involvement from around the world for this cause. We are running a fundraiser where donors can sponsor a bunny that will go to a patient at the Hershey Children’s Hospital. This is a new and exciting way to consider fundraising for a virtual organization. Our student population is very diverse and dispersed which provides us so many insights and opportunities to connect in new ways for our THON efforts.”
What is your favorite THON memory?
Danielle: “I danced at THON Weekend 2023. It was the most fulfilling experience. Seeing the families, dancers, supporters, and volunteers being so committed and engaged gave me a deeper connection and commitment to THON. Having my family join me on the floor and seeing my why made a family memory that is so precious to me.”
What are you looking forward to most about being the Primary Chair for your org for THON 2024?
Danielle: “I am excited for the growth that I am witnessing as a Primary Chair this year. My Executive Team is doing amazing things this year and watching their excitement and purpose has me looking forward to what they will accomplish. As this is my last year at Penn State, I am taking in every moment as Chair and cannot wait to see how far we go this year (and in the future).”
What is one fun fact about you?
Danielle: “I saw Imagine Dragons 6 times during their Mercury Tour.”
Penn State World Campus’ theme for this year was taken from Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. They chose the motto of “We believe in a world where hopes and dreams live forever”, from the book. Their vision is to follow the mermaid’s story as she discovers all there is to know about THON. We are so grateful for the contributions that they have made to our organization, and we cannot wait to see them at THON Weekend 2024!
Header Photo: Julie Fitzgerald, Cocurricular Program Coordinator Program Coordinator World Campus Student Affairs, Danielle, and Dr. Karen Pollack, Associate Vice Provost for Online Education