The Lizard Log

The Langkilde Lab in Action

THON 2015

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by undergraduate Cecilia Zemenak

This semester, I have been working on my first manuscript from my research with Mexican Jumping beans. The paper will be focus on the variation amongst individual bean behaviors.

This past weekend though, I took a break from my first draft to take part in the largest student-run philanthropy event in the world, THON!


For those who don’t know, THON is a yearlong effort to raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund, which assists pediatric cancer patients at the Penn State Hershey Medical Hospital. It is a 46 hour dance marathon for the kids and their families to forget about the illness for one weekend of games, performances, and fun with a supportive Penn State student family.

The whole event takes place in the Bryce Jordan Center, with the dancers on the floor and everyone else cheering them on in the stands. I take part in Atlas, which is a special interest group organized solely for the purpose of raising funds for THON. We had 10 dancers on the floor this year, and a huge group of Atlas members supporting them from the bleachers.


Every year, a different logo is chosen that encompasses why it is Penn State Students dance for the kids and for a cure. This year’s motto was to “Empower the Dreamers.”


A few phrases of the line dance, which is performed every hour by every person in the BJC, really explains the message behind the logo chosen:

Paint a face within the moon

Look closely and you’ll see yours too

Dreams grow in these small hours

Make them real, BE EMPOWERED.

I stood in the bleachers from Friday afternoon until midnight, and then I went back to my apartment to sleep while the dancers danced on. Saturday afternoon I excitedly went back and stood 25 hours until the very end Sunday afternoon. At the end of those 46 hours, the grand total raised by everyone was revealed: a whopping 13 million!


I am so proud to be a Penn State student because of this extremely worthy cause. 13 million dollars will go towards cancer research, providing care to pediatric cancer patients, and paying for treatment not covered by insurance. I am very fortunate to be a part of such an amazing student body at such a prestigious research university. WE ARE… PENN STATE!


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