by Scott Katherine

Written by Téa Griffith, Kayla Lebby, and Barbara Price

During the annual Dream Forward Campaign, which started this year on October 23rd and will last until November 8th, the THON™ Community hosts many different events in order to rally support and get people excited for the rapidly approaching 46-hour dance marathon in February! This year, our community is coming together to work towards the goal of raising $850,000 during Dream Forward, which culminates with the celebration of 100 Days ‘Til THON. We asked Penn State students and alumni about Dream Forward to highlight what makes the campaign so special.  

What’s your favorite part of Dream Forward? 

With all that is going on on campus, Dream Forward creates a sense of anticipation and enthusiasm within the community. When asked what his favorite part of Dream Forward was, former Hospitality Director and Penn State Alumni Michael Olenick said, “My favorite part about the Dream Forward Campaign is the energy and excitement that is all around campus! There are so many fun events and different fundraisers and it all leads up to the 100 Days ‘Til THON celebration, which is always such a great day!” 

Hallmark events of the Dream Forward Campaign include the Kickoff Phone-a-THON event, the Taste of THON promotions at various merchants in downtown State College organized by the Hospitality Committee, multiple Social Media Storms, special merchandise sales, THON Athletic Events (this year’s being a Women’s Volleyball game) and so much more! Anticipation and excitement for THON Weekend 2024, which will take place from February 16th-18th, really amps up with the Dream Forward Total Reveal in the HUB-Robeson Center. This is a fan favorite event within the community during which the THON Committees with the highest fundraising totals get to see their respective Captains hold up one of the total signs! Other than Total Reveal, 100 Days ‘Til THON 2024 features many other cool events, including a silent disco, line dancing, and hair donations! Be sure to check out schedules of upcoming events and join in on the fun, there really is something for everyone! 

The HUB-Robeson Center during 100 Days ‘Til THON 2022. Photo by Gilly Todd 

What does Dream Forward mean to you? 

Dream Forward impacts people in the Penn State community in many different meaningful ways. When asked what Dream Forward means to you, THON Chair of Psi Chi Rachel Buterbaugh said, “to me, Dream Forward is an amazing chance to connect with those in the THON community, from students to families to alumni. It’s a great opportunity for all of these groups to come together for a common purpose!” Dream Forward continues to inspire those in the community to work towards the larger goals of spreading awareness for childhood cancer along with providing support for those who are affected.  

What are you doing right now to prepare for THON Weekend? 

THON Weekend, although months away, is quickly approaching. There are so many people that work together to make this event possible. Katie Doughtery, a second year, is anxiously awaiting the eventful weekend. Katie is a Security Leader (SL) on her Rules and Regulations Committee. When asked how she is preparing for THON Weekend, she said, “I am currently attending meetings every week to study and understand the detailed rules of the event and what to expect during the exciting weekend. I then teach this information to my fellow Committee Members (CMs) during our weekly meetings. It is important that every CM is well equipped with the rules, so that when THON Weekend comes, we are prepared.” We then asked Katie to tell us how Dream Forward is helping her committee prepare for THON Weekend. In response she exclaimed, “through the Dream Forward Campaign, my committee’s DonorDrives have gotten many generous donations. Every penny donated goes towards our fundraising total. Dream Forward is teaching us through experience how we need to be prepared for the coming THON Weekend.”  

Katie’s committee currently has the most donations of all the Rules and Regulations Committees, most of which have been donated thanks to the Dream Forward Campaign. Katie would like everyone to remember that at the end of the day, everything we do is FTK®.  

Header Photo: 100 Days ‘Til THON 2022 Hair Donation. Photo by Sami Reilly