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Zack Vliet

OPPerations Director

Year: Senior
Hometown: Johnstown, PA
Major: Data Science

Previous THON Involvement

THON 2018: OPPerations Committee Member
THON 2019: OPPerations Captain

Why did you want to be a Director?

I was blessed to have attended my first THON at 14 thanks to my older cousin being involved, and ever since that moment, I knew I wanted to dedicate myself to this cause. After being an OPPerations Committee Member my first two years and an OPPerations Captain last year, I am still inspired and amazed by the tremendous differences THON makes in the lives of Four Diamonds families. I have always wanted to give my best to THON, no matter where that takes me. I wanted to become a Director so that if there was more that I could be doing for this community, I would do it. I knew that I had to try and give my all for THON, no matter the capacity.

What are your main responsibilities as a Director for THON 2020?

As the Director of the OPPerations Committee, I am responsible for overseeing the safe and efficient set up, tear down, and operation of the THON 5K, Family Carnival, and THON Weekend. This involves the planning and execution of these events with the help of a strong collaborative relationship with Bryce Jordan Center and Penn State OPP staff. Throughout the year, I will work with the 21 OPPerations Committee Captains to successfully develop and run these events as they pursue the duties and projects that come with each of their unique positions. In addition to their Captain positions, these 21 Captains will prepare each of the 700+ OPPerations Committee Members for their role in setting up, running, and tearing down the best weekend of the year.

What is your favorite THON memory?

My favorite THON memory was last year during Pep Rally at THON Weekend. I was supposed to be cleaning the Family Lounge bathrooms and taking out trash during this event. Typically, these jobs are quick and do not take much time in the Family Lounge. A friend of mine was an FR Captain and was playing with the Four Diamonds kids in the lounge and asked me if instead of leaving, I wanted to stay with him for the remainder of my shift. Over the course of Pep Rally, I was blessed to have gotten the chance to just see these kids have the time of their lives playing and watching from Family Lounge, all because I was supposed to just be taking out the trash. It was a precious hour or two that I will likely never forget.

Favorite Quote

Don't give up... Don't ever give up -- Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research Motto and also said by Jimmy Valvano

Plans After College Graduation

Working for a government consulting firm in the DC Metro area.