Frequently Asked Questions
What is THON?
The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, or THON, is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. THON is a year-long effort which raises funds and awareness for the fight against childhood cancer. With the support of students from all across the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and supporters all around the world, we continue to make great strides towards finding a cure for all childhood cancers. Our efforts culminate with a 46 hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon in February.
Where can I buy official THON merchandise?
Official THON merchandise can be purchased through our online THON Store at https://store.thon.org/.
Who is eligible to dance in THON?
Although any Penn State student is eligible to dance in THON if selected, there are some conditions one should consider before dancing. For someone trying to dance, any physical or medical condition that will intensify the challenges a dancer faces THON Weekend should be taken into account, i.e. heart conditions, back conditions, previous experiences with seizures or epilepsy, strict dietary concerns, or daily medications that make them sleepy or drowsy.
How do I dance independently?
Anyone who is a current student of Penn State can dance independently. Independent dancer registration is currently underway, and once registered independent dancers are eligible to fundraise after the Fundraising Window begins. The opportunity to dance is based on a lottery system, and the more money someone raises the better chance they have of being selected. For more information on dancing independently please contact the Communications Director, at [email protected].
Can my family and friends visit me THON weekend?
Family and friends can visit dancers THON Weekend by using the Dash. All organizations with dancers have Pass Lists. A dancer can put whomever they want on their Pass List; usually this list consists of members of that organization and their family requests. The passes are good from the beginning of THON until 12 pm Sunday when the THON finale passes begin working. At this point only those on the THON finale Pass List are allowed on the floor. For independent dancers it works the same way, except they have a limited number of passes and no THON finale passes.
What is the difference between online dancer pre-registration and the dancer registration that is done in person? Do I need to come to both?
Online dancer pre-registration allows potential dancers to submit all of their medical and personal information to THON before attending Dancer Registration. The online dancer pre-registration dates are TBA. When they are announced, they can be easily accessed through THINK.
Both are mandatory. You must participate in both the online pre-registration and the dancer registration event in order to dance. Registration dates for the upcoming THON are January 28-29, 2020.
How Do I Make a Donation?
You can donate online or by mail. Donating online is the simplest and fastest way to donate to THON. If you would like to donate online, please visit thon.donordrive.com.
Checks should be made payable to “Penn State Dance Marathon” and sent to the THON Office at:
University Park, PA 16802
Remember you can credit your donation to your favorite Penn State student organization. To learn more about crediting organizations, see the question below. Thank you so much for supporting THON and our mission of conquering childhood cancer. Together, we will make a difference in the life of a child. If you have any additional questions, please contact Development Director, at 1-800-392-THON or via email at [email protected].
How can I make sure my donation is credited to my favorite student organization?
1) Visit thon.donordrive.com.
2) Under the subtitle “Or Select a Specific Organization to Support:” choose to credit your donation to a General Organization, a Greek Organization, or an Independent Dancer Couple.
3) On the next page, select the organization or dancer couple from the list
Note: If you do not wish to credit your donation to a specific organization, under the subtitle “Make a General Donation” select “Donate Now”.
If you are donating by check, please be sure to put the organization name and number in the memo section of the check.
Thank you so much for our support of THON.
If you have any additional questions, please contact Development Director, at 1-800-392-THON or via email at [email protected].
How can I become a company partner?
By becoming one of THON’s company partners, you are helping to make a difference in the lives of children and families battling childhood cancer. THON can provide your company with many benefits designed to maximize your exposure to the THON community. Visit the Partners page to learn more about becoming a sponsor. If you have any additional questions about becoming a company sponsor, please contact Development Director, at 1-800-392-THON or via email at [email protected].
How do I participate in my employer’s matching gifts program?
Many employers will match your personal donation. Employer matching gifts may also be available to you if you are a spouse of an employee, a retired employee, or the spouse/widow/widower of a retiree.
How does THON raise funds?
Donations to THON come from several sources including dedicated Penn State University student volunteers who fundraise with their organizations, partnerships with businesses and corporations, individual donations made directly to THON, and a dedicated alumni base who generously donate every year. Check out the Summary of Fundraising page to find out more about the sources and uses of THON’s funds.
How are the funds used?
Since 1977, Four Diamonds has been THON’s sole beneficiary. The mission of Four Diamonds is to conquer childhood cancer by assisting children being treated at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital and their families through superior care, comprehensive support, and innovative research. Any family with a child being treated for childhood cancer at Penn State Children’s Hospital is eligible for support. Four Diamonds offsets the cost of treatment that insurance does not cover, as well as expenses that may disrupt the welfare of the child. Four Diamonds also supports the medical team that cares for the children, and funds innovative pediatric cancer research through start-up grants and Four Diamonds Pediatric Cancer Research Institute.
Where can I find THON’s W-9 form?
THON’s W-9 form can be found under the Documents tab.
Is my donation to THON tax deductible?
Yes, all donations to the Penn State Dance Marathon and Four Diamonds are tax deductible. Our federal tax ID Number is 24-6000-376. All monetary donations above $25 will be receipted by The Pennsylvania State University. Please contact Finance Director, at [email protected] with additional questions.
Can I donate in memory or in honor of someone?
Yes! When gifts are received that are in memory or in honor of someone, THON will record the information and send a letter of acknowledgement to the honoree or other family members that are requested. If making a check donation, simply note on the memo line who the gift is in memory or in honor of, and include a note providing a name and address of where the acknowledgement should be sent. If making an online donation, simply forward your electronic receipt e-mail to [email protected], and note who the gift was for as well as again the name and address for acknowledgement. Contact Finance Director, at [email protected] with any further questions or concerns.
I don’t see my question here. Whom should I contact?
Email: [email protected]
Where do I register my family for THON 2020?
The registration for THON 2020 is placed in the September Mailer. Your family will receive this either by mail or by e-mail, depending on the form of delivery you selected during the summer. If you have not received your First Mailer with the registration and are a Four Diamonds Family, please e-mail Family Relations Director, at [email protected].
If I am late for a registration, can my family still participate in the event?
Although we provide a deadline to register for all of our events, we realize that your families are busy, and will do everything in our power to accommodate to that. Please e-mail Family Relations Director, at [email protected] should you ever run in to a problem signing-up for an event or miss the deadline! We thank you in advance for getting all materials to us in a timely manner!
Am I responsible for making my own hotel reservations during THON Weekend?
If you’re a family that is on active treatment, as of early fall, you may be eligible for a complimentary hotel room for THON Weekend. During December or January you will be given your hotel assignment.
What should I do if I need more than one room THON Weekend?
If your child is on active treatment then you are allocated one complimentary hotel room for THON Weekend. If you need additional rooms you must cover the cost. However, in order to keep your family in one hotel we can help to book the second room for you. Please note if you would like your rooms to be adjoining.
Where do I park?
Directly outside of the Family Entrance (Founder’s Entrance on the Mezzanine Level) is the Family Parking Lot. The handicap parking lot also leads directly into this entrance. If you’re staying at the Nittany Lion Inn there will be a shuttle to the BJC. Each family will receive 1 parking pass in the February Mailer. If you know that your family needs an additional parking pass for immediate family members, please contact Family Relations Director, at [email protected].
How will I know the time/location of events?
All families receive a personalized schedule in their family bag that is received THON Weekend. Each schedule lists the specific events that your family signed up for, as well as location, time, and any additional information. If you have any questions about your family’s schedule feel free to ask a Family Relations Captain!
What do I wear THON Weekend?
The best advice is to layer! Although THON is in February, the Bryce Jordan Center can be very hot. Most volunteers in the BJC wear shorts and a t-shirt. As a family member, you can wear whatever makes you comfortable. If nervous about getting too cold, bring a light jacket or sweatshirt. You should wear tennis shoes since there is no sitting on the dance floor!
Will food be provided?
Yes! Food, drinks, and healthy snacks will be available for your family at all family events, including, but not limited to Harvest Day, THON 5K, Family Carnival, and THON Weekend.
What is the Celebration of Life video?
The Celebration of Life video is created by the THON Family Relations Committee and has become a true cornerstone of THON, honoring the children who have inspired us with their courage, wisdom, honesty, and strength. The video, which is shown Sunday afternoon during Family Hour, is a special time to celebrate the lives of the children who fought the courageous battle against childhood cancer. It serves as a reminder that we must continue the fight for a cure.
What do I do if I don’t feel comfortable viewing the Celebration of Life Video?
Before the video is shared during Family Hour, there will be a private screening of the video for families only. During Family Hour, you can always choose not to view the video by exiting the stage when the Family Relations captains instruct you to. We do encourage you to watch this video, as it celebrates the lives of those children who fought their battle against cancer with courage, honesty, wisdom, and strength.
Is there anything to do outside of the BJC?
Yes. There is so much to do during THON within the BJC, but some families enjoy taking a few hours outside of the BJC to explore downtown State College. See the State College page for some highlights to check out downtown.
Who do I talk to if I have a problem THON Weekend?
If you have a problem THON Weekend, look for anyone wearing a volunteer badge, or a headset. They can alert the appropriate Captain or Director. Although you should typically communicate with Family Relations, any volunteer is more than capable of helping you out!!
Where can I go to the bathroom?
There is a male and female bathroom in the Family Lounge that are reserved solely for Four Diamonds Families. Keep in mind that the bathrooms on the floor level are reserved for dancers, so make sure that you make a bathroom trip before going on to the floor.
Is it safe to bring my child with a compromised immune system?
Yes. No volunteer is allowed in to the Bryce Jordan Center if they are showing any symptoms of sickness. Many sanitary precautions have been taken to ensure that the Bryce Jordan Center is as germ-free as possible.
Is the BJC handicap accessible?
Yes, the BJC is fully handicap accessible. There are elevators to move from floor to floor, escorts if necessary, and a wheelchair lift to get onto the stage. If you have any additional concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Family Relations Director, at [email protected].
How do I get my family’s passes?
All family members who are receiving a pass must be present at the pass table. If members of your family are arriving at different times throughout the weekend they can pick up their passes once they arrive at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Do I have to wear my passes all THON Weekend?
Yes — even your kids; however, their passes can be pinned to their back! We ask that you wear your passes at all times during THON Weekend. Wearing your pass helps THON’s volunteers to identify you as a family. The floor pass system also allows us to protect all participants by only allowing pre-approved individuals on the floor and maintaining the floor capacity at safe levels throughout the weekend.Your family pass permits you to be on the floor for the duration of THON Weekend.
Can I change the number of passes I originally requested?
Yes, but please remember that passes are only available for immediate family members. If someone else decides to come to THON that should be awarded a pass, please email Family Relations Director, at [email protected]. As long as you give us an accurate number, we can make sure that we allocate your family the proper number of family passes!
What do I do if I find someone breaking a rule?
If you see someone breaking a rule, feel free to alert the nearest THON volunteer. They will make sure that the proper person is alerted.
What do I do if I can’t find my child in the BJC?
If you know your child is on the dance floor then please come directly to the stage and tell an Entertainment captain (wearing black). Otherwise, please alert any other THON captain or committee member. They will immediately locate those volunteers who will be able to help you find your child.
Where do I go if I need first aid assistance?
An EMS Room, with trained personnel, is located on the event level near the stage entrance. For assistance locating this room, you may ask a captain or committee member.
In the event of an emergency, please immediately alert a Rules & Regulations captain or committee member, or anyone with a radio. Rules & Regulations volunteers will be wearing red t-shirts.
What is the family pass system?
The family pass system is in place to ensure the safety of your family THON Weekend! Simply stated, it is a check in and out of the building, so we know where your family is in case of an emergency! Additionally, the pass system helps us to monitor floor capacity to make sure that the floor never becomes too crowded.
As a family, you will be awarded the same number of floor passes as immediate members of your family. If you have any special requests, please forward them to Family Relations Director, at [email protected].
What is the Adopt-A-Family program?
The Adopt-A-Family program, unique to Penn State Dance Marathon, pairs Four Diamonds Families with Penn State Organizations. If you choose to be paired, your family will immediately be assigned to a Penn State organization. This program helps families to feel at home THON Weekend, and gives organizations inspiration to raise money throughout the year! This program will surely enhance your THON experience, and is highly encouraged for all families.
What do I do if I don’t hear from my organization?
We want you to have a worthwhile and beneficial relationship with the student organization you have been paired with. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact Family Relations Director, at [email protected]. It is a huge honor to be paired with a Four Diamonds Family, so if you’re not satisfied with the relationship, please let us know!
How do I find my organization THON Weekend?
We suggest exchanging cell phone numbers with your organization to make it easy to meet up THON Weekend. Many organizations wear specific clothing that makes it easier to find them. If you are having trouble finding your organization’s dancers or members, Family Relations will be more than happy to help you out!
THON is a 46-hour event that will take place on February 21-23, 2020 at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, PA. There is no cost for admission, and there are no tickets required to attend THON Weekend.
Yes, members of the press are welcome to attend THON. However, if they would like access to the event floor, they will need to secure press passes prior to the weekend.
Press passes can be obtained for THON weekend by sending the following to Public Relations Director, at [email protected]thon.org:
Number of passes desired
How do I get involved with THON?
There are many different ways to get involved in THON. You can join a participating student organization, volunteer as a Captain or Committee Member, start your own THON organization, attempt to dance independently, or attend any THON event throughout the year. For more information about getting involved, check out our Take Action page. You can also contact Communications Director, at [email protected] with additional questions.
Do I have to be affiliated with an organization to get involved?
You do not have to be affiliated with an organization to get involved. Every student at Penn State is encouraged to get involved! There is a place for everyone in the THON community.
My friends and I want to start our own organization to participate in THON. How can this be done?
To learn more about starting your own organization, please visit this page. You can also contact Communications Director, at [email protected] for more information.
What’s the difference between a Director, a Captain, a committee member, and a THON Chair?
There are 16 committees in THON. Each committee is led by a Committee Director, which forms the Executive Committee. The THON Executive Committee is led by the Executive Director. Each of the 16 committees has a number of Captains. Captains are dedicated students who are integral to THON’s success each year. There are Committee Member positions available for many of the committees. Committee Member positions provide a way for students to get involved with the planning of many events throughout the year. A THON Chair is a member of a student organization who coordinates all of that organization’s involvement with THON. Talk to your organization to learn more about becoming a THON Chair.
What Captain positions are there in THON?
Click here to navigate to THINK, view a list of Captain positions, and apply for a position you’re interested in!
What Committee Member positions are there in THON?
Click here to navigate to THINK, view a list of Committee Member positions, and apply for a position you’re interested in!
Can I be a Captain in THON if I’ve never been on a committee before?
No prior experience is needed to apply to be a Captain. Some Captain positions do require certain skills, and these requirements can be found on the list of Captain positions.
How can I stay involved if I wasn’t offered a position on a committee?
There are still many ways to get involved with THON that include joining an organization, starting a new organization, or attempting to dance independently.
I’m interested in dancing in THON this year. How do I to that?
If you want to dance for a specific organization, talk to that organization’s THON Chair. If you are thinking of dancing independently, see our Independent Dancers page.
How can my band be involved in THON Weekend?
Live acts are key to keeping the dancers on their feet! Please note that we do have a limited number of live bands. If you are interested in learning more about how your band can perform at THON, please contact Entertainment Director, at [email protected]. Please include the name of you band, the genre of music it plays, a description of the venues at which you have performed, your willingness to play covers, a website link (if applicable), and your phone number.
I participated in THON as an undergraduate, and am looking for a way to stay involved as an alumnus. What can I do?
You can continue to support THON and our fight against pediatric cancer even after you’ve graduated! THON alumni play a key role in continuing to spread the message of THON and its importance to the kids and families. Alumni are encourage to join the Dance Marathon Alumni Interest Group, or DMAIG. DMAIG is a university-sponsored Dance Marathon Alumni Interest Group (DMAIG) designed to bring THON alumni together and keep them connected to one of Penn State’s most beloved traditions. Through DMAIG, THON alumni can continue to support regional events, plan new fundraising events, dance in THON as an alumni, and keep in touch with old friends. To learn more about DMAIG, please visit their website at www.DMAIG.org.
If your organization has not been involved in THON before and is interested in participating, please contact Communications Director, at [email protected].
I’m a THON Chair, but I am not receiving listserv updates. What do I do?
If you are a THON Chair and registered on THINK but not receiving updates from the THON Chair Update, please contact Communications Director, at [email protected]. You will be added to the THON Chair listserv and begin receiving weekly THON Chair Updates.
I’m my organization’s THON Chair this year. How can THON help my organization to succeed?
Every organization that participates in THON is assigned a liaison from the Communications and Donor & Alumni Relations Committees. These liaisons are there to help you every step of the way. Your liaison has a wealth of knowledge and resources that can help motivate your organization’s members and help maximize your fundraising potential. Contact Communications Director, at [email protected] to find out who your liaison is!
What are the best ways for my organization to fundraise?
The most successful methods of fundraising include letter writing with THONvelopes, small business and corporate solicitation, door-to-door solicitation, and alternative fundraising events.
What is a SORAAC Form?
SORAAC stands for Statement of Rule Awareness and Compliance. Every THON Chair is required to sign a SORAAC form. The form can be found online on www.THINK.thon.org.
In order to sign the SORAAC, you must first complete the brief THON Chair quiz. Signing the SORAAC confirms that you have read the Rulebook and understand that you might communicate its contents to the members of your organization. The SORAAC form must be signed prior to the first fundraising weekend. If you have any questions, please contact Fundraising Safety Director, at [email protected].
How do I find out my organization’s most up-to-date total?
Finance’s process of collecting checks, crediting them to organizations, cashing them and making sure this total is then reflected on THINK can take up to five weeks. If a donation made over five weeks ago has not been reflected in your organization’s total, please contact Finance Treasurer Captains, at [email protected].
How does my organization “adopt” a family?
Having your organization paired with a Four Diamonds Family is a great way to create an emotional connection with a family affected by pediatric cancer and motivate your organization. Your organization can apply to “adopt” a family by filling out an “Adopt-a-Family” Application before the specified deadline. To learn more about the application process, please join us for the “Adopt-a-Family” Application Workshop. Once your application is filled out, you will be required to attend to an Adopt-A-Family meeting where you will find out whether or not your organization has been paired with a family. The opportunity to be paired with a family is a very special privilege, and it is not guaranteed that every organization will be paired with a family. Please contact Family Relations Director, at [email protected] for any further questions.
What is THINK and how do I use it?
THINK stands for THON Information Network, and it can be accessed at www.think.thon.org. As a THON Chair or Independent Dancer, THINK can be one of your greatest resources. THINK is the one-stop shop for submitting requests for marketing materials for donors and registering dancers. You can use THINK to your advantage; just ask us how! If you have additional questions about how to use THINK, please email your THON Liaison or Communications Director, at [email protected].
What is a corporate packet, and how do I get them for my organization?
The THON corporate packet is a professionally designed marketing packet that your organization can use to solicit small business and corporate donors. The packet can assist your fundraising efforts by legitimizing THON to potential donors. In order to gain access to a corporate packet, you must fill out a “New Company Contact Request” form on THINK to make sure that donors are not double-contacted. Upon completion of your submission, you will be contacted by the Donor & Alumni Relations Committee to assist you with the next steps of the process.
How do I submit my organization’s floor pass list for THON Weekend?
In order for individuals affiliated with your organization to gain access to the floor during THON Weekend, a pass list must be submitted prior to THON Weekend on THINK. Pass list submissions will be available starting and closing on dates which can be found in the THON 2018 Rulebook.
Will my organization receive credit for small business and corporate sponsors that I submit?
Yes. Any money received from the company will be credited to your organization even if the Donor & Alumni Relations Committee contacts the company on your behalf.
What do I do with checks and pledge books to make sure that my organization receives the proper credit?
All checks should be delivered to the THON Office, 227D HUB, as soon as they are received. In order to ensure that your organization is properly credited, you must write your organization’s name and number listed on the memo line of the check.
My organization is new this year. Are we guaranteed dancers?
New organizations aren’t guaranteed a dancer couple, but are instead placed into a weighted lottery. This year, new organizations must raise a minimum of $2,800 to be eligible for the lottery. Each additional $700 earned by your organization will earn you an extra “chance” in the lottery.
Where can I order THON gear for my organization?
If you want general THON gear, you can visit the THON Store at http://store.thon.psu.edu.
If you want THON gear customized for your organization, there are 4 vendors located in and around State College that can print your THON gear. When you order your organization’s clothing from one of these companies, you will be given the best price available. Because these companies are licensed, THON will receive the trademark royalty fee in the form of a donation. There is a royalty fee for all licensed companies printing THON merchandise and this charge will be added directly to the cost of your order or will be listed as a separate line on the invoice. Using a licensed company ensures that the THON name and logo are not misused.
A list of authorized vendors is located on the documents page. Be aware that using a company which is not licensed to print THON clothing is illegal. Please contact Merchandise Director, at [email protected].
My organization wants to host an Alternative Fundraising event. How do I register the event with THON?
To submit an alternative fundraising request, your THON Chair needs to go to THINK and fill out an alternative fundraising request form. Providing as much detail as possible in your request will make the process much easier and more expedient. Requests are due at least 14 days before the event to ensure that the Rules & Regulations alternative fundraising captains have enough time to help you in your planning!
THON’s Sustainability Mission:
THON is committed to becoming a zero waste organization by educating our volunteers, managing waste efficiently at our yearlong events, and consistently utilizing sustainable methods to create a healthier planet For the Kids.
1. What is sustainability?
Sustainability is becoming a common buzzword today, especially on college campuses. Sustainability is defined as the simultaneous pursuit of human health and happiness, environmental quality, and economic well-being for current and future generations. In other words, today’s generation needs to be cognizant of the amount of resources we use, so future generations will have access to the same resources in order to live happy and healthy lives as well.
2. Why is sustainability important?
Sustainability focuses on the future and helping others. We want to help those in the future by only using what we need and not over-consuming Earth’s natural resources. If we over-consume, we will be leaving future generations with limited access to life’s essential resources, such as trees, oil, and gas. We can taper off our resource consumption through simple decisions, such as properly managing waste, choosing eco-friendly products such as fluorescent light bulbs, using less water, and more.
3. Why is sustainability important to THON?
Always keeping the Four Diamonds families at the center of THON’s mission, we want to protect and sustain the planet that they are growing up on to be healthy too. With 16,500 student volunteers and multiple events throughout the year, the THON community is in a position to make a significant impact on the environment. To highlight the impact THON’s sustainability efforts could have, based on last year’s THON Recycling and Environmental Effort (TREE) numbers, if every person of THON’s 16,500 volunteers recycled just 1 TREE bag, THON would receive a donation of almost $32,000. Whether it is making sure waste makes it into the correct bin at events or recycling in our homes throughout the year, we are not only making the planet a healthier place for Four Diamonds families, but we are also serving as role models for future generations.
4. How does THON participate in sustainability?
Over the past few years, THON has made a push to become a zero waste organization. To be considered zero waste, an organization needs to divert at least 80% of its waste away from landfills. Last year, we achieved a 95% diversion rate at both the THON 5K and THON Family Carnival and achieved a 73% diversion rate for THON Weekend. The OPPerations Committee leads the charge in waste management, but all of THON’s committees can get involved. For example, the Dancer Relations Committee can assist its dancers in recycling throughout THON Weekend, the Entertainment Committee can use microphones and projectors to remind event spectators to mindfully recycle their waste, and the Supply Logistics Committee can work with donors throughout the year to find eco-friendly alternatives for donations and supplies.
5. How can volunteers participate throughout the year?
There is no need to wait until a THON event to act sustainably. The THON Recycling and Environmental Effort, or TREE, is a yearlong recycling and fundraising campaign. Both committees and organizations are encouraged to participate! It’s easy, too. First, register your committee or organization on THINK to receive your TREE number. Then, retrieve TREE bags from 227D HUB and fill them with uncrushed aluminum cans. Once a bag is full, mark it with your TREE number, and bring it to Blue Storage, located behind the Hostetter Business Services Building. Once the TREE season is complete and the bags have been recycled, THON will receive a donation for these efforts, and the bags will be able to be credited. In addition, the top bag recycling committee and organization will each receive an incentive. If you would like to learn more about the TREE program, please reach out to [email protected] or [email protected].