A Look Back at the Decision to Ban Canvassing

Story posted February 18, 2021 in CommRadio, News by Jake Starr

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- In years past, drivers were greeted with Penn State students lining the roads.

Those students were participating in canning to raise money for THON. They would travel to different parts of the state and stand at intersections. Drivers would be asked to fill the cans with money towards THON.

In recent years, the risks of canning came to light and Penn State banned the activity. That decision was met with differing opinions.

Chriss Quinn graduated from Penn State in 1986. He participated in canning with his fraternity and disagreed with the decision to completely do away with canning.

“I thought it was a typical knee-jerk reaction,” Quinn said. “Something happens, so you got to take that away for everybody.”

Quinn remembers traveling to different parts of the state and setting up on busy intersections to raise money. But as canning gained popularity, the incidents increased.

Annette Mich graduated in 1990 from Penn State and she also spent many weekends traveling throughout the state to canvas. Mich understood there were risks involved but didn’t see it as any more than something she’s done before.

“My father was driving up and down the street screaming at us to go inside because it was too cold,” Mich said. “It would have never occurred to us that there was a danger associated with just traveling home. It felt like any other trip home.”

Mich would travel with her sorority and saw it as a great bonding experience. The decision to ban canning was met with differing opinions.

Some agreed with Quinn that it was a knee-jerk reaction, and others praised the school for taking student’s safety into account. But nearly all can agree with Mich that the bonding experience will be missed.

Jake Starr is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jas7954@psu.edu.