Sapphire kicked butt in raising a total of $17,536.93! This is the highest amount Sapphire has raised to date, and we owe it to all our Sapphires, our THON committee, and our amazing THON Captain, Macy Brinton. Thank you all so much for your hard work and dedication throughout the THON season! We are already so excited for THON 2015 and can't wait to see what's in store for us next year.
By Jack Delaney
Pam Heist, director of Deloitte Tax LLP, came to Penn State on Wednesday, February 19th to speak with Sapphires about branding and interview tips. The session was very informative, as well as relaxed to promote questions and interaction throughout the presentation. Pam stressed the broad background of professionals at Deloitte and explained the importance of standing out.
Pam discussed branding specifically in the context of the Internet. She reminded Sapphires not to get drawn into online arguments, post inappropriate content, and not to throw together websites or blogs that do not meet brand standards. It is essential to be authentic and remember that “the Internet never forgets” and thus it is important to pay attention to what you post online.
The next topic of the session centered on developing a “30-second pitch” or “elevator pitch.” A good elevator pitch explains who you are, why you are unique, and what opportunities you are targeting. It should be conversational and sincere, utilizing real life stories to apply to your own pitch. Also, Pam mentioned it is necessary to have multiple versions to cater to different audiences. The conclusion of your pitch should be a request for action. Furthermore, she warned Sapphires against rambling, using jargon, and not practicing the pitch.
Deloitte uses behavioral interviews, which value how potential employees have reacted in the past to situations they will encounter once they are hired. Questions often examine leadership, teamwork, problem solving, and personal initiative. For those without relevant work experience, you can cite campus organizations, group projects, and other areas of involvement.
One of the most important criteria Pam expects interviewees to meet is to be prepared. Interviewees should have done research and prepared questions. The interview is a two-way process, and potential employees need to assess fit just as much as the company itself does.
After the interview, make sure to send a thank you letter, though an email will reach the interviewer much quicker. It is also beneficial to show interest by inquiring about the next round of interviews, continuing to research, and keeping an open line of communication with the employer as questions arise.
The presentation concluded with questions from the audience, though many of the questions had already been covered as Pam allowed questions at any point. The session was extremely useful to get insight into how companies like Deloitte go about the interview process, as well as how to develop a personal brand.
By Grace Guo
While THON may be just one 46-hour weekend in the spring semester, students have been diligently preparing and fundraising for it all year. It's the one weekend EVERYONE looks forward to- not only do the students of Penn State all come together to raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund, but we're also there to support our THON families, our dancers, and each other in our unified cause to beat pediatric cancer.
Canning in the fall has no doubt inspired everyone to attend THON- hearing all the incredible stories about generosity, empathy, and enthusiasm stemming from these trips has fueled many students' passion to dance for a cure. But what if this year, you're attending your first THON and you don't know what to expect? Last year was my first THON, and I can readily say that even though I had heard so much about it from friends and older peers, nothing could have truly prepared me for what was to come that weekend.
I can't tell you much about the sheer amount of dedication, passion, love, and admiration you'll experience during THON- there are no words that can really, truly capture all of the feeling. You'll have to see for yourself. But, I can tell you about a few small things that I wish I had known before my first THON, so you can feel prepared for the weekend.
(Photo from OnwardState)
10 Things I Wish I Knew For My First THON
1. Bring Snacks
Think about it this way: you're going to be staying up all night, all day, all morning and you're not going to be sleeping the amount you usually do. Instead, you're going to be spending your sleeping time dancing in the stands, the floor, all around the BJC. And all of that is going to make you hungry! Bring a few snacks you can munch on throughout the weekend to keep you energized.
2. DRINK LOTS OF WATER
Bring a water bottle with you, and make sure you are constantly having to make trips to the water fountain! You want to make sure you're drinking enough water because it's easy to get dehydrated: you'll be singing, you'll be moving around a lot, you'll be sweating.
3. You’re going to go crazy
Going back to the topic of lack of sleep, it really will make you go a little loopy. Bring small knick-knacks to keep you occupied. I highly recommend bringing tennis balls: you can bounce then, play catch, and BEST OF ALL: If you put a tennis ball on the ground, take your shoe off, and roll your foot back and forth on top of it, it will feel absolutely miraculous after all that standing.
4. Wear bright colors and silly things
5. Find a buddy (or buddies)
You can come and leave together, support each other, and remind each other to eat and drink water. Trust me, you're going to want a support system throughout the weekend.
6. There will be ice cream and fried chicken
If you run out of snacks or get hungry for something more substantial, the concession stands will be serving chicken tenders, fries, etc and there will be ice cream stands scattered throughout the BJC as well!
7. You’re not going to want to leave
When you start adding up the hours you've been in the BJC, you'll probably be surprised at how long you've been there already. There's just so much energy, so much passion, so much support, and so much love that you forget about the time, and how tired you are.
8. THE LINE DANCE
You'll have plenty of opportunity to master it. You'll be doing the line dance about every hour or so with everyone in the BJC, and don't worry if you don't think you're a good dancer. The person next to you probably feels the same!
9. Chanting is fun, no matter who it's with
Coming up with a fun chant to support your dancers, or joining another group in their chant is a great way to keep your energy up!
10. You’re never going to want it to end
Once THON weekend is over, and you think about every single incredible thing that happened over the past 46 hours, and how much money Penn State was able to raise in one year to donate to the Four Diamonds Fund, you're probably going to start counting down the days and hours until THON next year. I know I did.
WE DANCE IN 2! FTK!
The members of the Sapphire THON Committee decided to plan a surprise party for our two dancers this year, Macy Brinton and Paul Hehn! Everyone in Sapphire was invited, and it was a great prelude to the wonderful weekend we have ahead of us. Thank you to everyone on the THON 2014 Committee for doing such a wonderful job this year! We are so luck to have you. WE DANCE IN 2!
By Sarah Beaver, Alexandria Ruf, and Grace Guo
Photographs by Grace Guo
THON weekend is easily one of the BEST weekends of the year in State College, but whether you’re a freshman or not, THON is going to be a little different this year from a logistical perspective. Read more to find out about what to expect, from getting into THON to all the different events!
1) Logistics: Entering the Bryce Jordan Center
Everyone who enters the BJC during THON weekend will have a bracelet. This year, THON is utilizing a Digital Line Management System, and each bracelet will have a unique barcode which will keep track of the exact number of people in the building at all times. To enter THON, you must go to Will Call, located on the north side of the BJC, and obtain a bracelet. Initially, people will be given pre-scanned bracelets and be allowed to enter immediately. Once the BJC reaches capacity, you will still stand in line for a bracelet, but you won’t be allowed to enter until there is more room for spectators. Feel free to go and find other things to occupy your time.
If you don’t want to walk the whole way back to your dorm or apartment, but don’t want to wait outside, the Pegula Ice Rink will be open. Then, once there is more room in the BJC, THON will send out a list of numbers through a text service (text THONUPD8 to 50555), online (thon.org/THONWeekendUpdate), and through an announcement in Pegula. These numbers correspond to the barcode on your bracelet, and once they have released your number, you have 45 minutes to return to Gate A of the BJC and be scanned in. The system only allows 45 minutes before you will be turned away, so make sure to keep track of when your bracelet’s number is called! If you are late, you will have to obtain another bracelet at the end of the digital queue.
2) Things To Do at THON
Once inside the BJC, you’re welcome to stay as long as you’d like – but no sitting! This discourages the dancers, who are required to stay on their feet for 46 hours. If you’re sitting, you will be asked to stand back up, walk around, or leave the BJC to get some rest. Keep an eye out for updates from Sapphire @SapphirePSU as far as when and where you might find a group of Sapphrends at THON. You can buy merchandise at THON at the stores located at Gates A, C, and D; hang out with friends on the concourse level or in the stands; look for our two dancers, Paul Hehn and Macy Brinton; or you can look at the THON Museum located between Gates A and D. If you’re hungry, don’t worry! The concession stands will be open all weekend so you can get your fill of fries, chicken tenders, and sodas.
There’s always dancing acts performing on stage, including some Four Diamonds kids and Athlete Hour! The “Final Four” hours are also highly anticipated. These hours include Family Hour, where some Four Diamonds families are able to share their stories, and culminate with the total for 2014! If you would like to attend THON for the Final Four, make sure you plan accordingly. This is the most popular time for people to attend, as it’s the most exciting part of THON. We highly suggest making sure you are in the BJC Saturday evening to make it for the Final Four on Sunday.
3) Leaving THON
You must be scanned out by a Rules and Regulations Committee Member to leave the BJC, and you are welcome to return to THON. However, your bracelet is only good once, so if you want to return and the BJC is at capacity, you’ll have to wait in line for another.
Beyond the new Digital Line Management System, THON is largely the same as it’s always been: a fun, exhausting, thrilling, uplifting, emotion-filled weekend For The Kids. Don’t miss it! WE DANCE IN 3! FTG, FTC, FTK!!
By Jack Delaney, Communications Co-chair
PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Dustin Bartolomeo-Damon came to speak exclusively to Sapphire students on the topic of Personal Branding on February 4, 2014. Dustin attended Penn State as an Accounting major before landing a job with PwC, eventually becoming a Campus Sourcing Manager after spending nearly 4 years in the Assurance practice. Now Dustin leads the firm's recruiting efforts at Penn State, working with students to identify their passions and align them with their opportunity of a lifetime at PwC.
Dustin’s presentation centered on how Sapphires can create or enhance a personal brand. He stressed authenticity, differentiation, and the idea that branding is part of an experience. Dustin paralleled the concept of branding in terms of stores or products with personal branding. For personal branding, Dustin emphasized the importance of self-awareness, communication, and consistency.
Furthermore, Dustin explained you must keep your real and virtual brands aligned. In the current age of technology, it is extremely easy to look up potential employees. Dustin stressed that to build a strong brand in bits and bytes, you should remove any "digital dirt". If employers search for you online, your digital footprint should reflect your authentic self and highlight your trademark traits -- as opposed to brand damaging Tweets or pictures. Dustin encouraged Sapphires to utilize social media platforms to expand their network and differentiate themselves from their peers.
Lastly, Dustin kept Sapphires updated on upcoming PwC events. He stressed that PwC offers plenty of opportunities for potential employees. Dustin stated “something that differentiates PwC as an employer and in the market place is that no two career paths are alike. At PwC, we are really going to help you design your own career path.” Dustin advocating contacting PwC representatives such as himself, who can help you network with PwC as well as their clients and competitors.
Sapphire was fortunate enough to be paired with the Cekai Suggs Family for THON 2014! Cekai has three siblings -- Dominic, Angelique, and Angelica -- and his parents are Esther and Chris. The family resides in Etters, Pa. Sapphire is thrilled to have been paired with Cekai and is looking forward to getting to know the family throughout the year.
Sapphires in the BJC during the last hours of THON 2013
The 2014 IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) fundraising season began on September 27 and Sapphires have been hard at work raising money for the kids. Sapphire THON committee students organized ManiCURE FTK, a fundraiser that ran from Oct. 14 - 17 in the HUB. For $5, Penn Staters had their nails painted with Penn State colors and THON decals. The fundraiser was a great success and will open again from Nov. 4 - 7 prior to the final canning weekend this fall. Anyone interested in having their nails painted can visit the booth from 2-8pm on the bottom floor of the HUB between Nov. 4 - 7.
Sapphires also canned in several locations across the state during the first two canning weekends. Despite cold weather and rain, students raised thousands of dollars to support the Four Diamonds Fund, the charity that THON supports each year. Sapphires will travel once again for the final canning weekend, Nov. 8 - 10, to continue to raise money to help fight pediatric cancer.
On Oct. 13, members of the Sapphire Class of 2017 participated in the annual Leadership Day event at Sunset Park. Students worked in teams and got to know their cohort members through various activities like an obstacle course, tug-of-war, and Pictionary. Students were challenged with limits to communication and worked together to compete throughout the day.
On Sept. 22, nearly 50 Sapphire freshmen participated in the annual ropes course team building event at Stone Valley's Vertical Adventures course. Students settled into harnesses, climbed up cargo nets, and worked together to complete the course, meeting and learning from their fellow cohort members. The day was full of challenges and lots of smiles.