THON 2009 Benefits from the Work of Education Student Organizations
by Joe Savrock (March 2009)
Two College of Education student organizations—the Education Student Council (ESC) and the Student Pennsylvania State Education Association (SPSEA)—were among the groups that volunteered to raise funds toward the record-setting collection effort of THON 2009. This year, Penn State students raised $7,490,133.87, far eclipsing the previous high record set in 2008.
According to Dan Grow, advisor for both organizations, “Many of our College’s students—in these two organizations as well as in other groups at Penn State—devoted countless hours raising funds for THON this year.”
THON, or the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, is much more than an annual 46-hour weekend event. It is a yearlong effort to raise funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer. THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.
The ESC raised $3,800, a healthy figure considering that 2009 is the group’s first year of formal involvement with THON. The students in the ESC work together to strengthen the communication links between students, faculty, and administrators.
The SPSEA raised nearly $15,000 this year, surpassing its previous record amount. “SPSEA’s extremely dedicated THON committee met every Wednesday,” said Grow. “In addition to numerous ‘canning’ trips and letters and phone calls to parents and alums, they sold T-shirts and sweatshirts to raise additional funds.”
Grow said the SPSEA sponsored a new THON child this year. “The committee made scrapbooks for her and her family and gave them SPSEA shirts to wear during THON,” he noted.
Because an overwhelming number of Penn State students are willing each year to dance in the marathon, the THON committee has implemented a lottery system. This year, two SPSEA members—Liz Popowicz and Bethany Thompson—survived the lottery cut and participated as dancers.
The SPSEA provides opportunities for students to become involved with social and volunteer service activities as well as professional development programs.