THON Total Reveal

THON reveals the total amount raised by THON 2022 at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa. on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022.

When student Jess Shade saw Penn State THON’s 2022 fundraising total displayed on the main stage of the Bryce Jordan Center, she said she was so excited that she couldn’t stop “jumping up and down.”

This year, THON raised a total of $13,756,374.50 — the largest one-year total in the history of THON. In doing so, it also passed $200 million total raised for the organization.

“I was so proud,” Shade (freshman-biobehavioral health) said. “$13 million is crazy.”

Shade attended THON with Epsilon Sigma Alpha, a sorority that raises money for the world’s largest student-run philanthropy each year through fundraisers and other events.

ESA, paired with the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity on campus, came in sixth in the greek life category of organization funding. Shade said “it was really good to see” her organization’s total displayed on the big screen during the final total reveal.

Ireland Robb, a member of Sigma Kappa, said she was “completely blown away” by this year’s THON total.

Robb (junior-marketing) said she and her sorority sisters were hoping for at least $12 million, which would surpass the $11,696,942.38 total from her freshman year in 2020.

But Robb got more than she anticipated and said she was “shocked” to see the philanthropy hit $13 million this year.

“It was awesome,” Robb said. “This year, when we saw the total, it renewed all of the drive and passion that we have for THON.”

Leading up to the 46-hour dance marathon this past weekend, Robb said her sorority organized fundraisers and hosted events.

For Pete Hassett, the most impactful aspect of this year’s THON total was how it compared to last year’s total of $10,638,078.62.

“Last year was around $[10] million, so getting $[3] million more — that just shows that [THON’s] growing,” Hassett (freshman-psychology) said.

Hassett participated in THON as a member of the OPPerations committee this year, and he said the best part was helping with “the logistics of it all” in the BJC. He said this was his “biggest contribution” to THON this year.

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For Shade and Sophia Harris, however, the most impactful aspect of THON was the breakdown of this year’s total into categories  — which detailed how much therapy, life support and other treatment can be funded based on the $13,756,374.50 total. 

“I liked how they put it in perspective,” Shade said.

Harris (freshman-division of undergraduate studies) said the breakdown allowed attendees and dancers “to see the effects” the money could have. She said it was “very cool” to see that paired with the final total.

Harris also said the breakdown reiterated for her the reasons she participated in THON this year as a member of the Blue & White Society.

Yet members of THON committees and organizations weren’t the only ones “impressed” by this year’s total, Dharmiisha Sivanesam said.

Sivanesam (senior-chemical engineering) wasn’t directly involved in THON this year, but he said he felt impacted by THON as a Penn State student by witnessing DonorDrives, special THON-related events, and by seeing his friends and peers fundraise for the cause.

“You hear about it a lot, and you see a lot of it — especially on social media,” Sivanesam said. “You learn a lot about it indirectly, and especially [being] at Penn State [for] over four years, you’re going to learn a lot.”

For Sivanesam, it was “really cool” to see THON increase its fundraising total again and reach pre-coronavirus pandemic totals, he said.

“COVID was really tough for [THON],” Sivanesam said. “I think it’s good that… [it’s] still got interest.”

As an international student from Saudi Arabia, Saad Mofareh said his first-ever THON experience this year was “really interesting” despite not visiting the BJC to see it in person.

Mofareh (graduate-law) said he feels “proud” of THON as an organization and as a weekend event.

What Mofareh said stood out the most was the teamwork and cooperation he witnessed between THON-related organizations.

“It’s amazing that… many students are working together for such a great [cause] to support people who have cancer,” Mofareh said. “This is good for human beings.”

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Jeremiah Hassel is an administration reporter for The Daily Collegian. He is a senior studying digital and print journalism and political science with a minor in French.