The Impact of THON for First-Year Students

Story posted February 23, 2022 in CommRadio, News by Haley Jacobs

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. —This weekend, the Penn State community came together for 50 years of THON, a 46-hour dance marathon supporting the fight against pediatric cancer.

It is the world’s largest student-run philanthropy that raises millions of dollars every year which goes to Four Diamonds, the company that financially supports the families struggling with cancer.

For most first-year students, this was their first ever experience at THON. Students are able to get involved through club sports, panhellenic organizations, special interest organizations and committees. Every group raises as much money as possible and gets to see the exact amount during the final four hours of THON Weekend.

CommRadio spoke with Megan Bablak, a first-year majoring in finance, who attended THON with her sorority, Delta Gamma.

“I definitely was most excited about seeing how much we raised, the total, and I’m still looking forward to the final four,” Bablak said. When asked the most memorable part of THON she said, “The talent show for the THON families and the THON kids. The first one, when they were standing up when she couldn’t walk, and the helpers were holding her up to sing, was very powerful.”

The Kids’ Talent Show is one of the most favorable moments of THON Weekend, and this year’s theme was “Hollywood.” Most of the kids’ acts were to famous songs, viral dances, or movie scenes.

Zachary Woodall, a first-year studying political science, attended THON with his fraternity, Phi Kappa Theta.

“I think this is a good cause. I think people need to stand up and stop childhood cancer and do what they can,” Woodall said.

The magic of THON has taken in so many new students as they begin their journeys here at Penn State.

Haley Jacobs is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email