In 1973, 78 students gathered in Penn State’s HUB Ballroom for 30 hours, raising $2,000+.
This year, for the 50th time in organization history, 667 dancers gathered in the Bryce Jordan Center for 46 hours, surrounded by thousands of volunteers and supporters, raising a record-breaking $13,756,374.50.
For many, it is hard to imagine a time when THON was not engrained in what it meant to be a Penn Stater.
But it was this curiosity that sparked an idea as Hong Yu Wong, THON 2022 Donor Relations Corporate Outreach Captain, was trying to think of ways to celebrate the 50th THON.
“I was watching the U.S. Open and saw an ad for Rolex,” Yu said. “Rolex is such a timeless brand, which got me thinking, ‘What else is timeless?’”
“I wanted something that would honor THON’s history and humble beginnings in a way that everyone involved in THON can be included and feel like they can contribute,” he said.
The idea: A time capsule.
But after getting initial approval, the question became: to build it or buy it?
“We found out a capsule is a hefty sum, and we wanted to put as much money towards THON and not necessarily these side projects, so we started to build it,” Yu said.
Yu and a team of Captains worked with engineering students and professors to nail down the details, from mechanics and materials to facilities for manufacturing.
“We had the materials, the people, and the plans to start building when we realized that the material we were going to use was combustible and not allowed in the Bryce Jordan Center where we wanted it to go on display,” Yu said. “At that point, it was too late to reach out to a corporate sponsor, so I thought we were at the end of the road.”
About a week later, Yu received a note from the THON 2022 Alumni Engagement Director, Will Vincent, who shared information about the Dance Marathon Alumni Interest Group (DMAIG) Endowment for THON Alumni Engagement.