Technically, Thon 2009—like all Thons before—does not have a specific fundraising goal. But the unwritten, unspoken wish of everyone involved is to exceed last year’s grand total of more than $6.6 million. To raise that kind of money, Penn State students are “thinking outside the can.”
Of course, Penn State students still “can”—collecting donations in canisters they shake for attention—on street corners and in front of stores in cities across the East Coast during the months before Thon. But in recent years, students have used increasingly creative fundraising techniques to boost their totals.
For the third year, the Penn State Marketing Association held its Celebrity Date Auction in November at the HUB-Robeson Center. A raucous crowd of students filled Heritage Hall, bidding on dates with Penn State celebs such as Blue Band drum major Matt Sabo and Blue Sapphire PJ Maierhofer or Penn State Playboy model Brianna Leigh. Some of the highest bidding occurred when various Penn State athletes took the stage. To raise interest in their pledge to deliver pizzas wearing only Speedos, six members of the Penn State men’s swimming and diving team peeled off their shirts and pulled in a winning bid of $235. But the highest bid of the evening—$260—went for a guided tour of the Lasch Football Building and Beaver Stadium luxury suites. The guides? Four Penn State football players.
Penn State students are using the Thon Web site to raise money in a number of ways. Again this year, Thon will be raffling off a few huge prizes: a 2009 Suzuki SX4 Crossover, a seven-day cruise for two to Bermuda, a Dell laptop, and several digital cameras. Raffle tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the Thon store at https://store.thon.psu.edu/special/raffle or at the Bryce Jordan Center during Thon weekend. The winners will be drawn during the last four hours of Thon and need not be present.
In addition to raffle tickets, the Thon store online also sells Thon T-shirts, sweatshirts, wristbands, and a signed, limited-edition poster of Coach Joe Paterno ($215)—all “For the Kids.”
Individual dancers also go online in search of donations. This year’s School of Theatre Thon team produced a two-minute music video for YouTube that ends by urging viewers to join them in raising money “for the kids” and provides contact information.
Scores of other Thon videos are also on YouTube including last year’s line dance and dance routines performed by football players, the men’s golf team, and more. The three-minute professionally-produced video, “Thon—Don’t Waste One Minute (BJC)” is one of the most popular Thon videos online.
Alumni and friends can make a tax-deductible donation to Thon from the main page at www.thon.org.