So our mutual friends (I like to think) over at Onward State and The School Philly are at it again, this time debating THON. It is an interesting conversation but I feel neither side is willing to accept that both sides are right in this particular debate.
It all stems from this article by Onward State editor Kevin Horne, which points out some concerns about the execution and depiction of THON, which is coming off a record-breaking weekend event. While Horne runs through a number of thoughts about THON, and how it has become celebrated like an individual achievement by the students and loses emphasis on the kids that benefit from it (I’m paraphrasing a bit here), The School Philly has come to the defense of the reason to celebrate a good deed (again, sticking to the basics; if anyone feels I’m missing the point please feel free to chime in).
Nobody invited us to the debating table but I felt like sharing my two cents to the topic, due to my more (possibly) neutral position on the issue.
I did not go to Penn State, although I have strong family ties to the school. I say this because I hope my “outsider” point of view will provide another thought to the discussion. I think THON is a fantastic event, and one that deserves plenty of media attention. Find me another charitable fundraiser that will raise $10 million entirely organized by the student body at any school in the country. This just does not happen, and the fact that the numbers have increased yet again is a testament to the dedication the students at Penn State set aside for this fundraiser, which takes a lot of planning before the big event. Having served as a vice president of service in my old college fraternity back in the day I cannot tell you how remarkable his all is. And yes, while service is to be done for the good of others, and not for self-glory, there is absolutely nothing wrong with giving yourself a nice pat on the back when it is all done.
Celebrate Penn Staters. You deserve it.
That said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a hard look at the event as a whole and jot down ideas to improve upon it for the future. I feel that is the direction Horne was heading, although it may have been received poorly, or in fairness delivered poorly.
Is it wrong to suggest that the school’s proudest activity has flaws? No.
Is it wrong to suggest that students not boast about their achievement? Well, yes.
I give Horne credit for addressing some of the issues he believes affect THON in one or another. Is he spouting off about issues with THON for page views? I don’t think so, nor would I want to believe Onward State would endorse such a practice. I understand why some people commenting on the site or via Twitter would suggest that, but if that is the case than Horne and Onward State (with their successive articles from various writers) are also putting their reputations on the line. I realize that Onward State has been on the wrong end of some previous controversy (Joe Paterno), and a topic like this after such a great event can come off awfully negative, especially from a (pardon the negative tone this will carry, none intended) sophomore who is not quite half way through his college career.
“He doesn’t understand!”
“He doesn’t get it!”
“Maybe he should try helping out with THON next year!”
Those are all fair assessments. Perhaps he should get involved next year and get a new perspective about the event, rather than from the view of a reporter, whether on the floor or in the press box. Here’s hoping he does just that, and hopefully he has a follow-up column next year once doing so.
With all of this said, we are moving on. We’ll get some popcorn going and sit back and see what else comes out of this.
The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the rest of the Nittany Lion’s Den staff. Many of our staff members participated in THON this past weekend.