UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- It takes years to build a legacy but for the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) THON team a strong foundation for one is emerging. For the fourth consecutive year, EMS THON raised the largest amount among general organizations, a record-breaking $110,114.67. This year, overall THON also broke last year’s tally with $13.34 million raised for the Four Diamonds Fund, which works to find a cure for pediatric cancer and help relieve financial burdens for families battling the disease.
Junior Carly Hinton (environmental systems engineering) was the chairwoman of the EMS team and in charge of building this year’s legacy. With such a successful organization already in place, Hinton focused on more contact with the THON families and getting the whole EMS community — including faculty and staff — involved in fundraising this year.
“We really reached out to the whole college for support, and we were able to build a great foundation. Not only did we have many generous donations from faculty and staff, it was the first time that we had faculty and staff join us at meetings, the THON 5-K and THON weekend. It is so important to us that we extend the inherent passion of our college to this incredible cause.”
Dakota Smith (senior, meteorology), who danced this year and is also Student Council president believes that strong student bonding helps make the college successful even though it’s one of the smaller ones at Penn State.
“EMS has such a special THON community,” Smith said. “It’s tight knit, and people are so passionate about what they do.” Smith thinks the bond between EMS Student Council and EMS THON has strengthened in recent years creating even more opportunities for successful fundraising and community building.
“They’re separate groups but very supportive of each other, and this gives a family-like feel to our college,” said Smith.
The dancers also play a crucial role in both giving and receiving support. They are elected by the organization, and because it is highly selective, it often represents a pinnacle of multiple years of service to the cause. During THON weekend from Feb. 21 to 23, the dancers relied on the EMS team to give them strength for the 46 hours of the no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon. This year, the EMS dancers were Henry Coll (senior, energy business and finance), Marc Procopio (senior, energy business and finance), David Suhan (senior, environmental systems engineering), Albert Emhof (junior, energy business and finance), Dakota Smith (senior, meteorology) and Meredith Nichols, (senior, meteorology). All made significant contributions throughout the years — organizing canning events, supporting THON families and dedicating a large part of their free time to the effort.
For the fourth consecutive year,the EMS THON team raised the largest amount among general organizations, a record-breaking $110,114.67. 2014 Dancers were (Clockwise from middle bottom) Mark Procopio, Henry Coll, Albert Emhof, Meredith Nichols, Dakota Smith, and David Suhan.
Image: Penn State
Like many people involved with THON, Nichols dances in honor of someone close to her. “For me, finding a cure to pediatric cancer and knowing that no other family has to endure what (my close friend’s) did motivates and inspires me to get through the 46 hours of THON.” Dancing in her late friend’s name, “gives me the courage to basically accept that he is gone and to try to help make a different outcome for other children diagnosed in the future.”
In the end, the legacy of EMS THON — and THON as a whole — is all about hope for the future. As Nichols said, “One day when we cure pediatric cancer we can say ‘I was a part of that!’”