by Scott Katherine

Atlas is a Special Interest Organization at Penn State with a strong dedication to fundraising for THON™ and a love for supporting it’s Four Diamonds families. It was founded all the way back in 2005, and they have been involved in many ways ever since. Additionally, the club is known for wearing pink fuzzy hats during THON Weekend so that their paired families can recognize them with ease! Atlas won Organization of the Month for November for having the best Alumni newsletter!

To learn a bit more about the organization, we had the opportunity to ask Atlas’ Primary THON Chair, Kayla Homan, a few questions. Kayla is a graduate student studying accounting with a minor in international business from New Canaan, Connecticut. Her previous involvement is extensive, consisting of being the Atlas Digital Fundraising and Development Chair, an Atlas Productions Captain, and even a Special Events Committee Member. Check out her answers to get to know Atlas a bit better:

What is special about your org’s THON efforts?

Kayla: “Atlas is a Special Interest Org, which means that THON is kind of like our super bowl. Atlas works year-round fundraising and supporting our families. Doing activities throughout the year really brings all our members closer. We all come together for this common purpose which is a beautiful thing. Everyone has the same drive for getting closer to a cure. I have met so many amazing people and heard so many incredible stories because of this organization.”

What is your favorite THON memory?

“Last year I was able to be on the floor during Final Four. I was able to spend time with our dancers and with one of our Four Diamonds families. Seeing the Total Reveal with them was a special moment knowing how much effort we put into that number.”

What are you looking forward to most about being the Primary Chair for your Organization for THON 2024?

“One of my favorite things about being in a leadership position is watching others experience the magic of THON for the first time. I remember my first THON Weekend and how exciting and emotional it was. Introducing this experience to others is one I’m very grateful for and am looking forward to.”

What else would you like us to share about you, your org, or its efforts for THON?

“Most people know us from our pink fuzzy hats that we wear! It all started when our first family, the Smith’s, told us the story of how when they were watching the THON Livestream one year, they couldn’t see our organization due to thousands of people in the Bryce Jordan Center during THON Weekend. At the same time, Victoria had a favorite blue fuzzy hat she wore all the time. Jokingly, they said we should all wear pink fuzzy hats like Victoria’s so we would be easier to see from far away. The next year, the entire club was wearing pink fuzzy hats. The tradition has continued, and now we are known as the club that wears the pink fuzzy hats.”

Atlas members attend the THON Spikes game with their Four Diamonds family, the Smith’s. Photo courtesy of Kayla Homan

Atlas has done a fantastic job so far this year of supporting the mission of THON and we hope that this article gave you a bit more insight into what they’re all about. They are truly a group of extremely hardworking students and we look forward to seeing them all at THON Weekend 2024!

Header Photo: courtesy of Kayla Homan