Dancin’ for Cash

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First Posted: 1/21/2015

Coming up with $1 Million for a children’s hospital is a breeze as long as you’ve got a pair of dancing shoes, a couple of video games and an Elvis impersonator.

“When they unveiled the total at last year’s THON at Penn State Main Campus in University Park, the reaction—just the sheer volume of the cheers, the joy everyone felt—left some in tears,” said Michelle Yaple, senior staff assistant, Student Affairs at Penn State Wilkes-Barre. “I mean, the whole place shook…it was just overwhelming.”

Penn State’s THON, an affectionate abbreviation for the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, is currently the largest dance marathon in the country. It’s also the most successful student-run philanthropic venture, garnering more than $13M in charitable donations last year. The money raised benefits the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital and the fight against pediatric cancer, according to the event’s website.

Any graduate of Penn State’s Main Campus won’t hesitate to share their memories of THON. For college students in the Wilkes-Barre area, however, shelling out $50 for gas to get to University Park to participate in THON, isn’t needed anymore.

Penn State Wilkes-Barre’s THON Committee, will host the 2nd annual “MiniTHON” beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 30 to 7 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 31.

Jackie Warnick-Piatt, one of two co-advisors overseeing the Student Government Association at the local campus said she hopes to bring that same spirit from State College to Northeastern Pennsylvania.

“We invite all other Penn State Northeast Regional colleges, which include the campuses at Worthington-Scranton, Hazelton, Lehigh Valley, and Schuylkill to join us. We have also sent invitations to the students of King’s College, Keystone College, Luzerne County Community College, Misericordia University and Wilkes University, all members of the Intercollegiate Leadership Wilkes-Barre program,” she said.

This year, the theme for Penn State Wilkes-Barre’s MiniTHON is “Hollywood.”

“We have activities planned all throughout the night,” Warnick-Piatt said. “We took inspiration from various genres of film: comedy, horror, sports, and so on. Students will be performing stand-up comedy, we’ll have zombies running around at one point, and there will be casino décor in the vein of the James Bond film ‘Casino Royale’,” she said. “There’ll even be a student Elvis impersonator for everyone to take pictures with!”

Warnick-Piatt said there will be plenty of activities to keep people up and on their feet for all 12 hours of the MiniTHON. Students can choose from all sorts of mini-events throughout the night: an hour-long block of board games, an XBOX or Wii tournament, a rousing game of ‘human Foosball’, or, for those with more playground-oriented sensibilities, a hula hoop competition.

For those worried they might grow hungry during all of this commotion, Warnick-Piatt ensures, “We have so much food: snacks, pizza, PB & J, movie theater treats—don’t worry. Everyone will be well fed throughout the night.”

For more information and/or registration forms, email Carmen Ciampi at cjc5501@psu.edu or Marissa Urban at miu5027@psu.edu.