Staff Supporting THON

Sofas, Pizza, and More: Housing and Food Services Supports Thon Dancers and Families

Friday, February 12, 2016

During Thon weekend this past February, Housing and Food Services did their part by providing food and comfort to dancers and families.

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, dancers were treated to hot, fresh pizza prepared and delivered by Penn State Food Services. The arrival of 175 cheese, pepperoni, and veggie pizzas on the dance floor at the Bryce Jordan Center gave dancers a much-needed energy boost. "This is our third year of supporting Thon," says Jim Meinecke, residential dining coordinator at Penn State University Park. "We've expanded it each year, and this year is our largest sponsorship. In fact, I'd say it exploded."

Treats from the Penn State Bakery also played a major role: At the Thon kickoff event in October at the HUB, Food Services provided chocolate chip cookies. In November, for "100 Days Until Thon," cupcakes added to the celebration in the campus dining commons. And in December, at the Thon Family Carnival, children had a chance to decorate their own cookies provided by the bakery.

In the weeks leading up to the big event, dining commons and convenience stores at University Park featured Thon-approved meals and snacks that help dancers prepare for the 46-hour marathon. "Our nutrition office goes through the menu and looks for foods that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates, caffeine, and sugar--foods that will get you ready for Thon," Meinecke says. "We put a special tag on our entrees and snacks that are Thon approved."

During Thon weekend, guests waiting outside on Friday afternoon warmed up with hot chocolate served by Food Services volunteers and members of Penn State athletic teams. And Food Services once again supported dancers by offering recovery foods in the dining commons and convenience stores during the week after Thon.

Thanks to Penn State Housing, Thon families hanging out in the family suite at the Bryce Jordan Center had three brand-new sofas to relax on. "When Thon Operations Director Jake Criscuolo reached out to Housing with a request for sofas, I put the word out to our furniture vendors," says Chad Henning, assistant director for Housing. "Quality Products & Services and Transformations Furniture provided three brand new couches, a $12,000 value. These couches will last for the Thon families for years to come."

Housing employees also showed their Thon spirit by sporting t-shirts specially designed for the weekend. The shirts' Thon-inspired design is based on a sketch that Kathy Kline, a technical service employee in Pollock Halls, drew on a napkin. Henning adapted Kline's design to create t-shirts that Housing staff could purchase. Proceeds from the t-shirt sale, totaling more than $400, went to Thon.