Monday, February 23, 2015

Empower the Dreamers

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This past weekend was THON. For those of you who don't know what THON is, it's an annual 46 hour dance marathon held by Penn State students to raise money to cover the medical bills for families with kids who have pediatric cancer. THON is the largest student run philanthropy in the world. This year there were 708 dancers who stood on their feet without sleeping from 6:00 P.M. Friday night to 4:00 P.M. Sunday afternoon. I have no idea how they did it for the kids. Major props to them! This year the theme was Empower the Dreamers. I just happen to love the logo!

Students planned for this weekend and raised money all year long. Each year there are three canning trips held to collect money. Basically, students stand on street corners all weekend long with cans to get donations. There are also canvasing trips where students go door to door. And, there are all sorts of other fundraisers, such as getting proceeds donated when you buy cookies, merchandise, etc. There is also a family carnival and a 5k. Organizations compete against one another to raise the most money and support their dancers in the stands holding up their letters. 15,000 students head to the BJC, where the basketball team plays, for the event and must stand on their feet while they are there also.






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This year the total was $13,036,652.23! I am truly proud to say that I go to a school that accomplished this incredible fete. This year I did not do much to contribute other than donate a little here and there and watch the live feed over the course of the weekend. But, next year, I hope to be more involved now that I understand THON better.

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There is food and merchandise for sale as well as a THON museum portraying its history. In addition, there are different activities set up throughout the course of the event. Every hour, the line dance is performed. It changes every year. The lyrics to this year's was: 

Stretching:
Lean with it, rock with it / Penn State, now pop with it
Hands out, stretch back / Tighten up your fanny pack
46 on the clock / Grab your tutus and high socks
15,000 on your feet / Dancers, ya feel that beat?

Verse 1: 
THON ’15 make some noise /  Nittany Lions, “We dem boyz”
Penn State Pride, For the Glory / Do it for the campus story
Wait, what? Chipotle’s closed? / Let’s go to Primanti Bros
Jamba Juice, brand new deli / HUB food, get in my belly!
Peace prize won by scholar / Neha Gupta, HOLLA!
Set, spike, victory / Lionettes make history
Pinstripe win in NYC / Seniors show their loyalty
Barbour Barron are on board / 409, wins restored!

Chorus:
Whoop! There it is! / We’re here for the kids
Raise the roof, don’t stop, don’t stop / Diamonds, up top, up top
Together, one family / Magic, the BJC
For the dreamers all year long / We Are! Penn State Strong

Verse 2: News/Sports
Nations mourn with France / “I’ll ride with you,” Aussies chant
Ferguson in the papers / Seeking peace for all our neighbors
“Interview” still presents / To tour the White House, hop the fence
Michelle, “Bring back our girls” / Ebola scare around the world
College playoff great for fans / King James back in his homeland
Jeter says farewell / No one catches like Odell
Stu Scott’s legacy / K.D.’s mom, MVP
Mo’Ne Davis came to play / Howard blocks for U.S.A.

Chorus:
Whoop! There it is! / We’re here for the kids

And, you can find a video of the dance here.

Throughout the 46 hours, there were live bands performing, the three top acts of Penn State's Got Talent, the 2015 homecoming theme reveal, a pep rally where sports teams perform, dancer mail for dancers to receive messages from loved ones, family hour where families of kids share stories, and so much more. I found the hockey, soccer, and gymnastics performances to be entertaining. Here's a picture of the soccer team below in their jorts a.k.a. jean shorts.





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Going into this weekend, I didn't really understand all that THON is, but now that I do it makes me want to be more involved in it next year FTK!
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