This weekend, Penn State seniors held their breath for the last time as students as they waited for the THON total reveal.
However, it wasn’t the way many expected when they first arrived at Penn State.
While THON was entirely virtual, many seniors said they didn’t mind the way their final THON turned out.
One senior who enjoyed the virtual setting of THON was Zoe Cykosky.
Cykosky (senior-supply chain information systems) said the virtual THON “bypassed” her expectations. She even thought it was her favorite THON.
“I thought it was more about the energy and the feeling,” Cykosky said. “I still felt that THON energy the entire weekend.”
Cykosky said her favorite parts of THON this year were the events her organization, Penn State Club Tennis, organized for the weekend. Some of these events included Zoom talks with THON children, scavenger hunts and taking pictures.
Cykosky added that she enjoyed the rest period this year.
“I woke up every day recharged,” Cykosky said.
Katelynn Powell said she also didn’t mind the change for this year despite it being her last.
Powell (senior-corporate innovation and entrepreneurship) was an entertainment captain at THON this year. She said she spent some time at the Bryce Jordan Center helping with the livestream.
“I definitely think it was worth it,” Powell said.
For Powell, her favorite part of the weekend was how focused THON was on the families. She said she feels the spectacle of THON in the BJC sometimes “distracts” from the families.
“It was important to me that we got back to our roots again and focused on what we’re truly doing [THON] for,” Powell said.
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However, even though Powell said this year was her favorite, she still missed all of the people who are normally at THON.
“I felt like this year — because we were so focused on the mission — I just felt like everyone’s heart was in it,” Powell said.
Francis Glavin said he also believes it was worth it to attend the virtual THON this year despite the circumstances. Glavin (senior-biochemistry) has been involved with THON since his freshman year as a member of the Sigma Pi fraternity.
“It was just an insane honor to be able to represent my organization,” Glavin said. “I had a really good time.”
For the weekend, Glavin said his fraternity planned themed activities at different locations.
Glavin said the livestream could sometimes be “difficult to navigate,” but he feels there was still good content.
However, Glavin added that it was easier to communicate with other dancers this year. He said that in previous years, it was difficult to communicate with dancers on the floor of the BJC.
“It was really nice to be able to have that direct support,” Glavin said.
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Glavin said one of the things that kept him standing throughout the weekend was thinking about the children that THON supports.
“If a kid can have cancer, I can stand for 46 hours,” Glavin said.
Srishti Ponnala was another senior who enjoyed her last THON.
Ponnala (senior-global and international studies) said she’s wanted to dance in THON since she was a freshman. Ponnala said she kept an “open mind” when THON announced its virtual format.
One aspect of virtual THON Ponnala said she disliked was the pre-recorded content. She said she and her co-dancer would take walks when pre-recorded content came onto the livestream.
Ponnala’s favorite part of THON this year was being able to do other things — like taking a walk, during the 46 hours. She said she also enjoyed the rest period from midnight to 6 a.m.
“Being in the stands versus having a little more space to be out and about was the biggest thing [for me],” Ponnala said.
Ultimately, Ponnala said she thought this THON was “great.”
“Being able to dance and still have a THON in and of itself is a really special and unique experience.”