Penn State Law Benefiting THON to dance in 2018 event

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — This weekend, Feb. 16-18, thousands of Penn State students, community members, and Four Diamonds Families will descend upon the Bryce Jordan Center on the Penn State University Park campus for the 46th annual THON Weekend, an event filled with laughter, hope, and some pretty sweet dance moves. This year, Penn State Law Benefiting THON, a revamped student-run organization in the law school, has earned two dancer representative spots in the 46-hour dance marathon, the first time Penn State Law has had dancer representation at the event since 2015.

Penn State Law Benefiting THON began in the spring of 2017, when Tyler Dunphy, current chair and one of the organization’s 2018 dancers, attended THON and knew he wanted to be a bigger part of it.

“I caught the THON bug when I attended last year’s event,” said Dunphy. “The whole Jordan Center was just filled with hope and optimism. It’s a pretty indescribable feeling.”

Dunphy, now a third-year student, sent an email out to the law school community to gauge interest, and soon after meeting with interested students in a packed seminar room, Penn State Law Benefiting THON was formed. There was so much interest, in fact, that contested elections were necessary for the executive board, something practically unheard of in a new student organization. The group now has around 30 members, most of which have never participated in THON. There are three former Penn State undergraduates who do have THON experience, helping to guide the group through fundraising campaigns and overall involvement.

Fundraising efforts for the 2018 event began in the fall semester, kicking off with the annual THON 5K, where the group was joined in their efforts by Penn State Law and School of International Affairs Dean Hari Osofsky, Law Professor Rachel Herder, and Director of Financial Aid Susan Bogart. Members also went out on one fall “canning” trip this year, where students traveled to Ambler, Pennsylvania, decked out in Penn State Law gear from head to toe, seeking donations from passersby in the small suburban town’s center. With participants in that weekend’s event ranging from first-year to third-year students, it was a true bonding experience for the group.

As the year went on, the law school community continued to rally behind its THON organization, offering financial and emotional support. The culmination of the group’s fundraising efforts came with the THON Auction in November, where many members of the faculty and staff donated a variety of activities on which students bid, with all money raised going directly to THON. Other events included a field day, Penn State Law Benefiting THON merchandise sales, and the THON Hidden Wonder Showcase talent show. Samantha Panny, a 2L and the second Penn State Law Benefiting THON 2018 dancer, participated in the showcase, and earned the group an additional $500 through her performance.

“This has been a great year,” said Panny. “None of us even knew each other before we started this organization, and now we’re all like best friends.”

Second-year student Allie Amatuzzo, communications chair, added, “It’s an incredible experience, being part of something bigger than yourself. It offers a good balance to the law school experience.”

THON is the world’s largest student-run philanthropy, engaging more than 16,500 Penn State students in the fight against childhood cancer. THON’s yearlong fundraising and awareness campaign culminates in a 46-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon every February. Since 1977, THON has donated more than $146 million to its sole beneficiary, Four Diamonds, at Penn State Children’s Hospital, funding comprehensive care and critical research.

Last Updated March 07, 2018