by Ella Rubenstein

Written by: Kaitlyn Nguyen, Samantha Matushek & Allie McKnight

THON™ Weekend is approaching quickly. There is much work to be done in order to create the most magical weekend of the year. How are THON Volunteers preparing for this exciting, yet busy weekend? Great question! Find out by reading more information below. 

THON OPP Committee Member Preparation 

Luke Bennethum, OPPerations (OPP) Committee Member, has been busy preparing for THON 2024. During weekly CM meetings, Bennethum has been focusing on fundraising efforts, reviewing different weekend tasks and memorizing key locations in the Bryce Jordan Center (BJC). This is Bennethum’s first THON Weekend, as he is a first-year student at University Park. “I’m really excited, as we get closer and closer to THON weekend. I feel like time has moved so fast since the first meeting and my anticipation is building,” Bennethum stated.  

When asked to describe OPP in three words, Bennethum said, “unified, passionate and energetic”. OPP often calls themselves the “Big Blue Family”. This refers to the color of their THON Weekend shirts, which are always navy blue. Be sure to find an OPP student volunteer and thank them for all their hard work throughout THON Weekend, as they ensure the cleanliness of the BJC.  

Photo: Sami Isenberg

FOTO Member THON™ Weekend Preparation  

Shawn Spoerl is a member of the specialized organization FOTO. Spoerl is a first year student and THON 2024 will be his first THON ever. “As a first time THON-goer, I am both excited and nervous for the weekend. I’ve only heard good things, which makes me feel optimistic, but I am not sure what to expect,” Spoerl stated.  

FOTO was founded in 2009 by Adam Fountain to honor his brother Tommy, who had beaten pediatric cancer. It is important for new members like Spoerl to understand the origin story, when joining a special interest organization and all the hard work they put into preparing for THON Weekend, as well. One way FOTO has been preparing for THON 2024 is by hosting fundraisers at surrounding State College restaurants. The special interest organization also goes on family visits to remain in contact and friends with their four THON families.  

First-Year Committee Member Preparation 

First-Year Committees (FYC) are for first-year students, who may have missed the opportunity to sign up to be on a general THON Committee or decided to join at a later date. This is a great way to get involved in THON, as FYC members experience a variety of shifts during THON Weekend and not one specific position. This gives members the opportunity to show their dedication to THON and hopefully continue to be involved for their remaining college years.  

Courtesy of: Troy Peters

Avery Kauffman, FYC member, enjoys going to the meetings and fundraising as much as possible. She feels the pressure and excitement, as THON 2024 is approximately two weeks away. Her favorite part is getting to know other members, while experiencing their first THON together. Kauffman is excited and anxious for THON Weekend, but can’t wait to see the inclusiveness and enthusiasm from other student volunteers.  

Each year, THON takes a village to prepare for and is not a simple task. It is such a warming feeling to see the entire Penn State community come together from all over the world and give back, For The Kids®.  

Cover photo credit to: Emily Deacon