Jacob Santos

Entertainment Director

4th Year Student
Hometown: Douglassville, PA
Major: Biobehavioral Health
Minor: Biology

Previous THON™ Involvement

THON 2021: Entertainment Committee Member
THON 2022: Entertainment Captain (DJ)
THON 2023: Entertainment Captain (Crowd Entertainment)

Why did you want to become a director for the largest student-run philanthropy in the world?

Coming into my first year of college, I knew that I wanted to dedicate myself to an organization that seeks to give back to the surrounding Penn State community and beyond. It was THON that welcomed me with open arms and ever since then, I have sought to give back to our Four Diamonds families through THON and push this organization to new heights. My involvement within THON has allowed me to see our mission come to life and I have learned the importance of creating small yet influential moments for our families to remember forever. I wanted to be a director so that I could continue creating these moments for those who we support and have a pivotal role in the fight against childhood cancer. THON serves as a beacon of hope for so many people throughout the Penn State community, and it never ceases to amaze me how much we can accomplish to support those at the forefront of our mission. Throughout these past three years, being a THON volunteer has transformed my life in more ways than one. There is no better way to give back to the organization that has given me so much than to be a member of the Executive Committee for the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.

What are your main responsibilities as a Director for THON™ 2024?

As the Entertainment Director for THON 2024, I have the special opportunity to work alongside 26 captains and 50+ committee members to provide the highest level of production value in performances and audio/visual entertainment at all pre-THON events and THON Weekend. We do this by creating the THON Weekend timeline, DJing over 50+ pre-THON events, contracting live performances, executing crowd engagement initiatives, and developing ways to connect with viewers on the live stream. Additionally, I serve as the primary liaison to the Production Staff at the Bryce Jordan Center where I work with them to contract production companies and performances following University policy.

What is your favorite THON™ memory?

Although I have created so many memories through my time as a THON volunteer, one that sticks out to me would be the total reveal of THON 2022. THON Weekend 2022 was the first time I was able to experience the magic of this event in person. Standing with my fellow captains on the floor of the BJC and waiting in anticipation of the total reveal was an indescribable experience. Seeing the total being raised on stage reminded me of what the THON community is capable of and how we strive to support those at the forefront of our mission. All of our efforts throughout the year culminated in that moment and it will be something I’ll never forget.

As a director, what are you most looking forward to for THON™ 2024?

I am most looking forward to seeing how my team and I can create an environment that is engaging, welcoming, and inclusive at all of the events we help run throughout the year. The Entertainment Committee has a unique responsibility in providing a platform for so many to showcase their talents and abilities to the rest of the world and I am very excited to see what this committee accomplishes this year. Each individual has a different reason for “why they THON” so I am also looking forward to connecting more with other members of this community and hearing about their THON journey.

If you could give your high school self one piece of advice, what would it be?

I would tell my high school self, "You never know until you try!" Stepping outside of my comfort zone and exploring my interests was something I wish I did more of while I was in high school.

What are you involved in outside of being a THON™ Director?

Lion Ambassadors, Penn State Pre-Dental Society, Learning Assistant for the Eberly College of Science

What are your plans after graduation from Penn State?

After my time here at Penn State, I hope to attend dental school and fulfill my dream of becoming a dentist that seeks to give back to underserved individuals and communities.

Who is your role model? Why?

My role models would definitely have to be both of my parents. As immigrants from the Philippines who came to the United States for a better life, my parents have taught me many life lessons and how to be resilient in times of hardship. Since coming to America, my mom and dad have sacrificed so much for myself and my two other siblings to get where we are today. I simply would not be the person I am today without the support and guidance from these two individuals I hold very close to my heart.

What Disney character do you identify with the most? Why?

I'll have to go with Goofy! I love making other people laugh and putting a smile on their faces!

What is one thing you think everyone should try at least once?

Travel to a different country! I've been to at least 9 different countries and it has been an unique experience to immerse myself in a different culture every single time.