THON, Final Four, Confetti

Karis Leonard, age 7, plays with confetti during THON at the Bryce Jordan Center, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019.

In March, THON 2020 executive director Regina Duesler told The Daily Collegian she hopes to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard.

Nearly six months later, Duesler (senior-accounting and finance) is helping achieve that goal by incorporating different suggestions into new events and fundraising activities for THON.

The executive committee received feedback from students in many different THON organizations as part of its efforts to make sure THON is always moving in the right direction.

This year, two THON events are being revamped.

Along with the student feedback, Duesler received feedback from alumni and friends of THON to find ways to incorporate them more.

“We have shifted something that we launched last year called ‘THON Nation,’” Duesler said. “This year we are now able to have something called ‘group fundraising’, which allows alumni to have individual pages under the umbrella that they used to fundraise under as students.

“For example, if you were on the executive committee in the past, there would be an executive committee alumni page on the donor drive, and each of those individuals can have a page under that.”

These individual pages do not have to be just for alumni and students. Friends of THON are also welcomed to foster relationships with donors, families and friends.

The annual one-week long “One Day We Will Dance in Celebration THON Campaign”— the largest one-week effort to raise money for THON — is now being replaced with “The Dream Forward Campaign”. This new name for the campaign will still have the same goal of fundraising, but it will have new aspects.

The “One Day We Will Dance in Celebration THON Campaign” was normally one week long. The new Dream Forward Campaign will last 16 days from Oct. 13 to Oct. 29, which also happens to be the day of the THON 5k.

This new revamped version of the original campaign not only will have the focus of fundraising, but also the connection to the mission. Duesler said this added focus will ensure that everyone’s voices are being heard, including stakeholders and anyone who has a dream for “THON, for the kids, for their involvement in THON.”

“The campaign was kind of brainstormed by members of the executive committee originally, but as we have developed different ideas, we have gotten some ideas from different organizations as well,” Duesler said. “We have definitely been receiving a lot of great feedback.”

The feedback is sent in through requests on THINK, THON’s internal information network. On THINK, request forms and applications are available and organizations are encouraged to reach out to the THON executive committee with suggestions or complaints.

Dan Mele, the Public Relations Director for THON, said THINK also provides toolkits for campaigns and volunteers for inspiration when it comes to posts on social media, fundraising and promoting donor drive pages. THINK is also used to keep the THON executive members’ open-door policy, both online and within in the THON office.

“If there are any questions,” Mele (senior-marketing) said, "comments or concerns that anyone has for us, they are more than welcome to reach out to myself, and the committee captains are more than welcomed to sit down with any volunteer and help them and grow their ideas into reality.”

Being more of a resource while providing resources to organizations and volunteers is something that Mele always tries to strive for.

THON, Final Four, Dancers Embrace

Dancers embrace during THON at the Bryce Jordan Center, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019.

“I think Public Relations in the past has been progressively providing more and more resources for the THON community,” Mele said. “But I am most excited to continue to do that and to grow upon that, especially that all volunteers feel confident in spreading our mission and can go up and approach a donor while feeling confident in speaking on behalf of THON and advocating for THON.”

Besides the encouragement of contributing ideas to THON and THON fundraisers being revamped to include these contributions, there are also two other events developing this year.

According to Emily Dalo, THON’s Special Events Director, the THON kickoff celebration that happened last year is being rebuilt. It will take place at 4:30 to 7:30 on Sep. 18 in the Pollock quad.

“We are kind of revamping [the THON kickoff celebration] this year to be more fun and also more engaging for new members of the THON community,” Dalo (senior-biobehavioral health) said. “We are going to have representatives from committees as well as organizations, so people that are new to THON can come in and ask questions and talk to people.”

Another new change in THON events is the previous name of the “Road to THON Celebration” is now “Closer to a Cure Celebration”.

The “Road to THON Celebration” previously happened two weeks before THON and has highlighted all of the contributions made to THON within the year.

“It was kind of getting us excited for THON weekend and also appreciating all of our donors and stakeholders within the THON community,” Dalo said.

Due to weather, the “Road to THON Celebration” was delayed until the week after THON 2019, which according to Dalo, ended up working out better.

This year, the plan is to have the “Closer to a Cure Celebration” after THON weekend, which Dalo said will give everyone the time to enjoy THON.

“It’s a very hectic time of year, and we felt that volunteers were very overwhelmed with going into the night,” Dalo said. “We wanted to kind of move it to the end so people could enjoy it more, and to also see the impact we had that weekend and kind of include that in the event this year as well.”

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