Written by Allison McCarty, Abby Burton, and Morgan Coccodrilli
During THON™ Weekend and various other THON events throughout the year, there is no question about the difficulty of providing food and drinks to volunteers and dancers. The driving force behind this huge responsibility is the Hospitality Committee (HOS), which controls serving dancer meals, restocking fridges and working concessions and snack stations throughout THON Weekend. In addition to this work, the HOS Committee Members are tasked with overseeing concessions for almost every pre-THON Weekend event, such as the THON 5K powered by PNC and 100 Days ‘Til THON.
To gain some insight into all the hard work that the committee does, we spoke with the Hospitality Director, Sam Mazzoni. In her position, Sam helps to coordinate the relationships with Donors along with leading a committee of 20 captains and over 200 committee members.
Being the Hospitality Director undoubtedly comes with its challenges. One difficulty that Hospitality faces year to year is changes in each Donor’s capacity to give to our organization. Sam explains how “In an ideal world, we hope to get the same food from the same places each year, but every Donor has different needs that change over time paired with any changes Hospitality chooses to make to improve the experience of those we serve.”
To best organize events with all the generous contributions we receive, HOS reaches out to Donors 5 weeks prior to each event, giving them a full month to confirm plans, brainstorm and reach out to alternative Donors if there are any issues with acquiring adequate amounts of food. All donations, no matter how small, have such a lasting impact on THON. Sam describes how “Maintaining these relationships is a huge part of my responsibilities, and I ensure that no matter how much Donors give they are aware of their incredible impact on our community!”
The HOS Committee also works hand in hand with Housing and Food Services at Penn State to connect with different vendors and ask new Donors for food each year. Sam spoke a bit about the importance of every vendor, no matter how large or small they are. She said, “We love to use as many small State College located businesses as possible, but the Penn State contacts are always helpful in connecting us with their vendors and contacts to help when we are in a pinch. We also rely on larger Donors, like our amazing grocery stores, to help us find alternatives which is always a huge help!” HOS truly could not execute service on the scale they do without all their amazing Donors and supporters.
With THON Weekend 2024 in the near future, there are still many upcoming events before the Weekend! Sam is most excited for the Family Carnival, which will take place on Sunday December 3rd from 12-5 p.m. Sam commented about her committee’s preparation for the big event, stating “I have been working alongside my 20 captains to secure food for multiple meals including family and volunteer focused meals. This has been a big focus for me throughout the month of November, so I am super excited to see the event come together and to get to spend quality time interacting with our Four Diamonds families!”
Header Photo: Sean Eden