By Sarah Steighner
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – Penn State New Kensington’s THON members held a meeting Dec. 9 in preparation for THON weekend at State College to raise money for children with cancer.
THON members of PSNK had a meeting on campus to discuss the planning of future fundraisers and details regarding the upcoming trip for THON weekend. The meeting was held by THON board members, including Chair Melissa Gabrielli, Marketing Captain Jenna Swank, Morale Captain Kailey Brink, Family Relations Captain Morgan Sarniak, Canning Captain Mitch Hastings, and Advisor Lauren Blum.
Melissa Gabrielli, Chair of THON, said that THON meetings are “for both informing members and helping plan events, but we also have fun meetings where we make kids mail, crafts, and listen to music or watch THON videos.” The meeting leaders discussed what took place at the THONvelope party, highlighted upcoming events such as Basket Bingo, and discussed qualifications needed to be a dancer for THON.
The THONvelope party held in the campus café on Dec. 4 provided snacks and movies for THON members to watch as they addressed endless amounts of envelopes to family, friends, and community members asking for donations for THON. More THONvelopes were provided at the meeting for members to pick up if needed.
Board members then discussed Basket Bingo, which was held on Dec. 11 in the conference center. Students and community members were encouraged to participate. Over 20 local businesses donated assorted baskets to give away to the bingo winners. Volunteers were asked to bring food that was sold as part of the fundraiser.
Qualifications that need to be met in order to be an elected dancer for PSNK at THON were then outlined. Requirements include attending 75 percent of THON activities, and raising at least $1,000 for the organization. Fundraising money may include all that was raised by canning, donations, and THONvelopes by an individual member. Three spots are available, but only one member has met the qualifications to be eligible. After the qualifications are met, potential dancers will be interviewed and asked to attend a mandatory dancer retreat.
Other THON members who were not interested in being dancers for THON, but were still interested in attending the event voted on what color t-shirts to buy for THON weekend. Colors decided were lavender, sapphire, and lime green.
Advisor Lauren Blum stated that PSNK’s chapter of THON has set their goal “to raise as much money and awareness as possible for such a great cause. We would love to surpass last year’s fundraising total of $43,000!”
Blum has been the advisor of THON for three years now. She described the student members by stating that “they are driven and excited and always ready to push themselves as hard as possible for such a great cause.”
Supporting Blum’s statement, Melissa Gabrielli said that her love of helping people is what encouraged her to be a part of this club and “knowing I am helping a child with cancer is the greatest feeling in the world” is what causes her to be such an involved member. Gabrielli has been a member of THON for two years, and Chair of THON for two months. As Chair of THON, she makes sure her committee does what they are supposed to, motivates students on campus to get involved with THON, and completes reports about fundraisers.
Christine Patroski, second year member, has participated numerous times in canning for THON. Patroski made the trip to State College last year to cheer on the dancers during THON weekend, and plans on attending again this year if possible. Patroski said that “participating in THON weekend and supporting the kids is the least I could do for this great organization.”
THON meetings are expected to pick up more when students return back to campus for the spring semester. Until then, more fundraising and planning will be in full swing for THON weekend, which will take place Feb. 21-23.