Despite the multitude of brightly-colored Thon t-shirts mixed with blue and white ones at last night's men's basketball game, the student turnout was not enough to meet the goal of the "Target Ten" Challenge.
The student turnout for the game was about 6,000, Loren Crispell, marketing manager for Penn State basketball, said.
The goal of the "Target Ten" Challenge was to draw 10,000 students to last night's game against Ohio State University. If the goal had been reached, proceeds from all student single-game ticket sales for Saturday's game against Michigan State University would have gone to Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon.
Although 10,000 student tickets were not sold for last night's game, Crispell said a portion of the proceeds from student ticket sales for Saturday's game will still go to Thon. Crispell said Penn State basketball reached this agreement with Thon in advance.
"We wanted to make sure that the efforts of the students weren't in vain," Crispell said. "Tonight was a good effort all around, and we're still in a good spot to raise a lot of money for Thon."
Some students said they came out to last night's game because of the "Target Ten" Challenge.
"I think it was a really great idea, especially because the proceeds from the Michigan State game go to Thon," Geoff Halberstadt (freshman-political science) said.
Halberstadt came to the game with his Thon morale team.
"Tonight was a great way to get people to come out and support Thon and Penn State basketball at the same time," he said.
Matt Checchio, marketing coordinator for Penn State athletics, said he noticed a difference in the turnout at last night's game from the usual turnout.
"The student body came out and made a strong showing," Checchio said. "We hope to have just as strong of a showing or a stronger one for Saturday's game."
Andrew Jones, center for the men's basketball team, said the crowd helped the team.
"We came out and heard the crowd," Jones said. "When you have students that get as loud as they were, that positive reinforcement from the fans definitely helps."
Last night's game was televised nationally on ESPN as part of Student Spirit Week. Thon was one of the aspects of Penn State's student spirit that was featured during the program.
Before the game, ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews interviewed overall public relations chairman Mike Petrasek about Thon, and right before tip-off, ESPN talked about Thon on national television, Petrasek said.
Rules and regulations security captain JT Young was also shown on television painting four diamonds on his face.
During halftime, Thon 2008 captains also performed the 2007 line dance.
"I think tonight was a huge success for Penn State basketball and for Penn State dance marathon," Petrasek said.
Although last night's game did not draw 10,000 students, Thon overall chairman Dan Cocco said he agrees the "Target Ten" Challenge was a success.
"Tonight was not about making money. It was about awareness," Cocco said. "We raised awareness tonight, and we're going to raise awareness Saturday. As with any Thon event, making money is just a bonus."