How Greek THON Chairs Prepare for THON
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Jess Stempowski, a senior majoring in Kinesiology, discusses her preparation and what THON means to her as the Primary Chair for Delta Gamma and a dancer in this year’s THON.
Stempowski explains that she always knew about THON growing up as both of her parents were super involved when they were students at Penn State. She remembers watching the livestream every year as a kid before she got here, so naturally, Stempowski became super involved with THON from the start.
Last year, she served as the primary director for Delta Gamma and the acting chair before overseeing the majority of THON operations this year as the primary chair for the sorority which has finished in the top five of THON fundraisers in the past few years.
“Through Delta Gamma, we have just been growing our total since I got here,” Stempowski said. “It has been really cool to see the total go up.”
As the primary chair, Stempowski explains what this week has been like leading up to THON.
“This week is pretty stressful just because it is the week before THON,” Stempowski said. “It is a little bit extra stressful this year, because all of us that are dancing, we normally don’t have to plan anything for THON weekend like you literally just show up and we’ve been doing a lot of planning.”
Stempowski made a trip to Sam’s Club with the other six dancers to stock up on food and other necessities to ensure that they have everything that they need for the weekend as there will not be the usual resources that there would be at the Bryce Jordan Center with virtual THON this year.
In terms of physical preparation, Stempowski has been working out, eating healthy, stretching and drinking a ton of water. Making packing lists and getting ahead on homework are some other tasks that have helped her prepare mentally as well.
When reminiscing on her experience of THON in person, Stempowski described one of her favorite memories was getting the opportunity to go on the floor last year to see some of Delta Gamma’s dancers.
“They were all just so happy and were just being so strong,” Stempowski said. “Seeing them do that and be standing for that long and not showing it – it’s just really inspiring.”
This THON dancer remains very optimistic headed into THON weekend. Stempowski explains that their efforts have helped make the experience as authentic as possible while abiding by Covid-19 guidelines.
Stempowski describes the feeling of the final moments of THON when the grand total is revealed.
“That is one of the best feelings ever knowing that you contributed to something that big and that is so much larger than yourself,” Stempowski said. “I don’t think anywhere else, any other school besides Penn State, you would have the chance to make that large of an impact.”
Kathryn Tague is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, please email firstname.lastname@example.org .