Notes From Nittanyville - THON 2013 Edition

During Penn State football’s regular season I do “Notes from Nittanyville” for every game I attend. It’s basically just my game observations from a student perspective. Since we’re obviously in the offseason, I thought it would be neat to do a similar thing for THON. For those who don’t know, THON is Penn State’s year-long fundraising and awareness campaign for the fight against pediatric cancer that culminates in a 46 hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon known as THON Weekend. It’s the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. The total amount raised for THON 2013 was $12,374,034.46(!!!!), which easily beat THON 2012’s total amount of $10,686,924.83. So without further delay, here’s my recap of THON 2013:

  • THON is such a unique experience. A lot of people who aren’t familiar with it usually think it’s people just dancing/standing for a long time. But it’s so much more. It’s hard to explain and you need to be there and experience it to really understand. From the entertainment, to the dancers and much more, THON is something that you can’t find anywhere else. A lot of other schools have their own THONs as well.
  • The Blue Band Drumline played a few times throughout the weekend. The drum line is my favorite part of the Blue Band (sorry Matt) and they were awesome at THON. How fast and in-sync they play always impresses me. And shout out to the other members of the Blue Band that played at the pep rally on Saturday night. They were great as always.
  • Speaking of the pep rally, this year’s was just as entertaining as every year. A lot of Penn State sports teams performed dance routines and were impressive in combining their athletic abilities with sensational dance moves. The football team is obviously the fan favorite every year, but for the second year in a row they didn’t win. In 2012 it was men’s gymnastics (who weren’t able to be at THON this year) and this year men’s swimming won. Nonetheless, every team did a great job.
  • Springfield, which is a special interest THON organization (and also my hometown, FYI), had big letter cutouts that spelled “Springfield.” Some time on Sunday, they rearranged the letters to make it spell “Inspire”. I thought that was pretty cool.
  • On Saturday, something really special happened. Two guys proposed to their girlfriends on the dance floor. Lots of people crowded around the proposals and everyone in the BJC applauded. The two proposals happened within three hours of each other. I guess all the girls at Penn State have some pretty high expectations now for their boyfriends.
  • The organization that I’m with for THON is Nittany Nation, the student section organization for the basketball team. We also unofficially combine with Nittanyville since a lot of people and most of my friends that are involved with one are also involved with the other (just like myself). We had two dancers, Dan Arnoldi and Devin O’Connor, who were both phenomenal. Dan is in my Nittanyville group and is the game chair for Nittany Nation. Devin is the special events chair for Nittany Nation.
  • I was fortunate enough to go onto the floor for an hour on Saturday morning. I saw Dan, Devin and all my other friends who were dancing. Being on the floor is such a cool experience because everything is just so much more up-close and personal as opposed to being in the stands. While on the floor I was wearing my Victor Cruz jersey (I had to show everyone at THON how to salsa) and I just so happened to run into a random guy who was wearing a Hakeem Nicks jersey. What are the odds?
  • The speeches that Jay Paterno and Bill O’Brien gave were so inspiring and sensational. Say what you want about the Paterno family, but Jay really knows how to speak. O’Brien is already the biggest celebrity on campus and is someone who speaks with a conviction like no other. They both stressed that what THON does is incredible and O’Brien even called Penn State “the greatest university in the world.”

As a student, being at THON and seeing the total amount being revealed makes me realize how fortunate I am to go to such a great school. The Penn State student body is simply unbelievable and it’s amazing to see what a bunch of kids are capable of doing. Here’s to hoping for $14 million in 2014. FTK!

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