In my past posts I have written about pretty general concepts concerning abroad. And don’t get me wrong I love those posts, but not once have I addressed or discussed anything to do with Penn State. However, being abroad here not only means missing my family, but also missing events at my university. Watching my fellow students this weekend at THON, Penn State’s annual 46-hour dance marathon where all proceeds go to the Four Diamonds Fund, I found myself more homesick than ever. This blog post won’t be about feeling homesick or my experience abroad though, it will be about something much bigger; about THON.
For those of you unfamiliar with THON and what it means to Penn State, let me start off by saying it defines us. Any Penn Stater will tell you that THON was the reason many of us chose Penn State. And, I personally believe it continues to be the reason we have this cult-like lifestyle where once a Penn Stater, always a Penn Stater applies. It continues to inspire us to take part in the lives of families whose problems are much bigger than our own.
So, amidst the chaos and sadness we all felt this semester everyone was nervous to see the total. But, we managed to raise over $10 million and we never once let the opinions of others shame us or deter us from raising money for something much bigger than ourselves. The opinions I am referring to are those of media personnel that attacked our university at a time when we as students were doing all we could to rise above the actions of certain individuals.
In a recent article however, ESPN strayed away from the scandal and addressed THON. Truthfully, I am slightly alarmed by the lack of detail that they chose to describe this amazing event and by the emphasis they placed on Joe Paterno’s absence from it.
Just like many of my peers, it was saddening that Joe Paterno was not present at THON. But I believe, just like many of my peers do, that THON isn’t about whether Joe Paterno is present or not, it is about and will always be about the kids. I respect and honor Coach just as much as the next Penn Stater, but I don’t think it’s fair to take away from all the students do and hundreds of families that are helped by THON.
So I ask, why is it that many news sites manage to cover weeks worth of stories concerning a scandal that had nothing to do with the students but cannot manage to show what a wonderful thing the students are able to accomplish?
After writing this post I stumbled upon another article concerning THON. I felt like I should add it just to give you more of a taste of the student opinions on THON.