Sustainability in THON™

THON is committed to sustainable practices that will create a healthier environment, For the Kids® & For the Planet. We aim to do this through a multitude of initiatives including decreasing our single-use waste, diverting 60% of our waste from the landfills, and decreasing supply materials yearly. Additionally, we hope to repurpose 60% of unused food and beverages through donation, composting, or reusing in some capacity.

Committee Initiatives


THON’s Green Fundraising Initiative

TREE:  TREE stands for THON’s Recycling and Environmental Effort. TREE is a recycling program that collects aluminum cans of any kind (soda, tea, or other) and allows your club, organization, or committee to raise money for THON. TREE bags are able to be picked up in the THON office to store the cans in until the weekly drop-offs occur! Your organization will get credit for the number of bags you turn in, usually crediting between 50 & 80 cents. OPPerations captains will mark down how many bags you bring and later the money will be put into your THON total. THON Weekend incentives are also up for grabs for the winners of TREE in a variety of categories. TREE is one of the many initiatives THON is employing to become more sustainable, For the Kids and For the Planet!

Supply Logistics

Poster Library

Supply Logistics’ Poster Library houses various posters that are reused year to year for every Pre-THON Event and THON Weekend in an effort to reduce waste and consumption of materials.

Towel Drive

The Supply Logistics’ Towel Drive Initiative focuses on the year-long effort to collect donated towels that are used by the OPPerations Committee to clean floor mats used at various Pre-THON events and THON Weekend as well as assist Athletic Training in supporting the dancers throughout THON Weekend. All towels donated are reused each year, pending its condition after use, to ensure we continue to maintain THON’s sustainability efforts in all aspects of the organization.


Water Buggy Initiative

As leaders in the Penn State community, THON is actively introducing new initiatives to reduce our environmental impact and support our commitment to sustainability. Over the past many years, an area of improvement we have identified has been our large accumulation of plastic at our events. A significant amount of plastic waste comes from the consumption of plastic water bottles. To combat THON’s plastic usage, we proudly introduced a refillable water station for the first time at our THON 2023 5K powered by PNC. By encouraging all participants to bring their own reusable water bottles, we were able to guide individuals away from plastic water bottles and toward the water station. With a lower demand for plastic water bottles, THON can take a new stride toward our zero-waste vision. The overwhelming success of the refillable water station at the 2023 THON 5K was an incredibly important milestone in THON sustainability, and it will establish a new standard for the use of reusable alternatives

Sustainability Positions

For any additional questions, please contact any of the following below:

Green Focus Group

Green Focus Group is made up of all sustainability captains from Operations, Hospitality, and Supply Logistics, as well as other guest committees such as Merchandise and Donor and Alumni Relations. This group meets bi-weekly over the summers and before every THON event. They discuss topics like:

The 10-year sustainability plan
Materials to be used at events
Protocols at committee events and THON events
Waste Procedures
Other events

This group investigates THON’s current method and creates more eco-friendly habits that will allow THON to continue for many years in the future while leaving as small of a carbon footprint as possible.

Procedures for all THON Events


  • Waste stations are planned strategically to make sure that there is no trash left around the event area .

  • GFG meets to go over materials.

  • OPPerations captains create an announcement to inform the public about how to properly dispose of food items being served and other items being given.

  • Any possible donors looking to contribute sustainable or reusable items are encouraged to do so before the event.


  • Waste Stations are monitored by OPPerations captains to make sure that all trash is sorted correctly in waste cans. Once the cans are full, trash is taken to the correct dumpster. It is then weighed and sorted again to ensure proper disposal.

  • A sustainability announcement is made prior to mealtime to educate spectators on proper waste disposal habits.


  • With the weights taken at events, diversion rates are calculated and published publicly.

  • A debrief is done by GFG and the OPPerations committee to discuss the success of the event and what further steps need to be taken at the next event.