Written by Esther Gershenson, Kayla Lebby, and Anirudh Ganesan
Greek Life is an important part of THON™ at Penn State. Sororities and fraternities represent a large portion of the lively spectators who fill the stands every February during THON weekend. These organizations support the mission by donating an incredible amount of time and resources to fundraise for THON. A friendly competition between chapters encourages each chapter to raise the largest amount of money possible. We recently had the opportunity to speak to several members of a few sororities and fraternities to see what their organization is doing to prepare for THON Weekend.
Hallie Millagin, a sophomore, is a part of Delta Gamma (DG), Alpha Chi Chapter. Hallie is from Delaware County and is majoring in elementary education. One of her favorite things about being a part of her sorority is the work that they do with THON. Delta Gamma is partnered with four different Four Diamonds families: The Laboy, Meese, Whitman, and Testa families. Delta Gamma holds several large fundraisers throughout the year, all of which benefit not only THON, but also allow the members of DG to form stronger bonds with their sisters. “These friendships will truly last a lifetime and it makes us so happy to know that not only do we all share such a passion for THON, but we care so deeply about each other,” said the Delta Gamma THON Chairs. To reach their goal this year, DG is holding new fundraisers. “One fundraiser that is happening soon is our ornament making fundraiser! We have our whole organization coming together to make ornaments and get into the holiday spirit. It is also a great way to allow our organization to bond and show the love we have for THON!” According to Hallie, “Delta Gamma’s involvement with THON has been one of my favorite things about being a part of the chapter here at Penn State. It brings my sisters and I together to form unbreakable bonds with each other and our families. These memories are ones that I will treasure forever.”
We also got the pleasure of speaking to Emma Mack, a junior energy engineering major from Troy, Pennsylvania. Emma has been a crucial part of Gamma Sigma Sigma’s involvement in THON. Last year, Emma was the Special Events Chair, which meant that she was in charge of all the bonding activities with their partner organization, Tau Epsilon Phi. Family Carnival was one of the most notable of these events, but she coordinated any event related to their Four Diamonds family and THON. While Emma’s passion and enthusiasm for THON was abundantly clear, she admits that it requires a lot of work, mentally and physically, for all the months leading up to THON Weekend. Emma took a lot of the “graveyard” shifts THON Weekend that required a hike up to the BJC at 3 o’clock in the morning. She was able to find ways to combat this fatigue while on duty in the BJC. Her favorite part of THON was learning the line dance and being able to do it every hour of THON weekend. She looked back on how the line dance “rejuvenated them; everyone in the arena is doing the dance with you”, and she felt she was “a part of something bigger”. This strength, on an individual level, but also as a sorority, is exactly what THON is about.
Lastly, we spoke to junior agribusiness management major Macy Grove, the THON Finance Chair for Gamma Sigma Sigma. We asked Macy what it was like for her standing with her sorority THON weekend and Macy spoke about feeling empowered watching her sisters and Four Diamonds family on the floor. It’s a very unique experience for a group of people to go through “[…] all the motions of the weekend together, the highs, the lows, the exhaustion, the excitement. We get each other through the weekend, and I think it shows how THON families also need our support”. Representing her sorority in THON was a no-brainer for Macy. The chapter acts as one big family and together they work to serve the community, something she is super proud of, especially when it comes to THON and its values. Macy looks forward to the last push of fundraising, and visiting their sister Lily Pershica, the sorority’s elected dancer on the dance floor!
Members of Greek life at PSU are looking forward to THON Weekend 2024. Everyone is excited and anxiously awaiting the big weekend. If you are interested in being more involved in the fight against childhood cancer, reach out to your organization’s THON Chair(s). There is a lot more fun to come!
Header Photo: credit to Delaney Flynn