And that was the remark that stuck in my head during the THON brainstorming meeting, a part of the Smeal Philanthropy initiative to reach out to the community. This was the kick-off meeting to bring out ideas for raising funds for the THON 2011 and the target this year was $8000, a significant increase from the last year’s $2000. Several passionate people, a few second years and huge number of first year students, and of course hardcode Penn Staters, were present at the meeting.
There were so many interesting things we learnt at the meeting like ‘canning’, FTK – for the kids, THON etc. The THON is the largest student run fundraiser in the world which raised $7.8M entirely dedicated to fight pediatric cancer and provide family assistance, through the Four Diamonds fund. Each year hundreds of volunteers participate in this dance maraTHON, a 46 hour non-stop event, where the dancers must not sit or sleep, but interact with the kids, families and of course… dance! This is the way show their dedication to the cause and the people who pledged donations to have the dancers represent people’s contributions who could not be physically present at the event. Just to give you a sense of the exclusivity of this event, there are only 700 ‘available positions‘ for dancers and they are then chosen through a selection process.
In the brainstorming meeting, there were around 10 first year students present but the range of ideas that came out of the meeting were absolutely sparkling, some of which were – ‘battle of the bands’ – a music contest between the first year and second year bands, jewelry making & sale, Care for your kids – a way to have parents pledge money for the THON in return for services for their kids during exams, bake sales during the MBA coffee buzz, ‘THON the buzz’ – create awareness about the THON by getting moralers to the MBA commons, pick-up volleyball, basketball games to raise funds, pledge books, faculty-student tugs-of-war and so on. So the Service@Smeal seems to have started off of a high note and I’m sure that the core team continues this pace for things to come as the ideas come to fruition! Just a prelude to the glorious THON, 46 hrs of no sitting, no sleeping…. no kidding!
MBA Class of 2012