EMS student’s years of dedication culminate with THON Diamond of Courage Award

When Carly Hinton first volunteered with the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) as a freshman, she had no idea that she’d be leading THON’s top-fundraising general organization only two years later. Now, after serving for three years in leadership roles for the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) THON group, Hinton was recognized for her dedication by being named the 2015 recipient of the THON Diamond of Courage Award. The award is one of five major Road to THON Celebration awards given annually to recognize the hard work of volunteers.

“I’ve put my whole heart into THON for as long as I can remember,” said Hinton, an environmental systems engineering student from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. “Being a part of the THON community has changed my life. Knowing that I’ve made an impact significant enough to be honored with this award means the world to me.”

In 2014, under Hinton’s leadership, the EMS THON organization raised a record-breaking $110,114.67, surpassing their goal of $100,000. They raised funds in many ways, from canning to selling pizzas to soliciting donations from faculty, staff and alumni. Each year under Hinton’s leadership, the EMS THON organization increased its fundraising by 20 percent. For the past four years in a row, the EMS THON has raised more funds than any other general THON organization.

The organization also started the “No Hair Don’t Care” campaign, in which students pay money to shave their heads and show emotional support for pediatric cancer victims. In 2015, the entire THON community adopted this campaign.

In addition to spearheading fundraising initiatives, Hinton has focused the group’s efforts on making more trips to visit with Four Diamonds families.

“We’ve been seeing our families more than ever these past two years, which means a lot to them. It also lets new members of our organization meet the families, and it really shows why we THON,” she said.

Hinton credits the organization’s success with the fact that they don’t require anything from their members.

“You put in what you want, when you have time to do it. To me, that means anyone who volunteers is passionate about helping,” she says.

Prior to spending two years as director, Hinton spent a year serving as canning chair for the EMS THON organization and another year volunteering with general THON activities.

2015 is Hinton’s last year volunteering as a student with THON, and it’s the first year she’ll be dancing. And even though she may not be dancing in years to come, Hinton will always hold a special place for THON in her mind.

“I have met some of my greatest friends, including the Four Diamonds families, who I now see as part of my own family. I’ve forged relationships that I know will carry on into the future,” she said.

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Last Updated February 16, 2015