Published: January 17, 2024

Editor’s Note: The following article appeared on Onward State features Keegan Sobzcak (Omega/Penn State 2024) and was reprinted with permission from the author Haylee Yocum.

THON Director Thursday: Meet THON 2024 Supply Logistics Director Keegan Sobczak

Name: Keegan Sobczak

Major: Supply chain and information systems

Previous THON Involvement:

THON 2021 Hospitality committee member

THON 2022 Hospitality committee member

THON 2023 Theta Chi Primary THON Chair, dancer, and supply logistics paper and office supplies/GCI captain

Why did you want to apply for a director position for THON 2024?

"I wanted to become a director for the largest student-run philanthropy in the world to see the impact of this amazing organization on a larger scale and for the ability to have more interactions with our families and leave an impact on their courageous battle.

Also, being able to lead a committee is something I’ve always wanted to do, and hopefully, I will inspire the next generation of leaders within the THON community. Seeing how passionate this community is about our mission and the effect we have on our families is what has grown my love for this organization year after year, and I am so honored to be the supply logistics director for THON 2024."

What are your responsibilities as a THON director?

"My main responsibility as a director for THON 2024 is to support my fellow members of the executive committee to implement the best plans and actions to move our organization forward in our fight against childhood cancer. As the supply logistics director, I oversee a committee of 19 captains whom I work with to secure in-kind donations from crucial donors to ensure 95 cents of every dollar goes directly to Four Diamonds and our families. We also are responsible for THON’s storage facilities across campus and distributing our supplies to each committee to help them execute their visions at each THON event and THON weekend."

What do you want to implement in your position this year that’s unique and differs from previous years?

"For THON 2024, I am hoping to establish an emphasis on SL’s data, DEI efforts, and storage optimization. By utilizing data recorded from several previous years, SL is able to better forecast supplies needed throughout the year and also understand where we can coordinate our donor contacting efforts to acquire them through in-kind donations.

SL also has a unique way to contribute to THON’s DEI efforts by decreasing financial obligations to volunteers through our Extra Items Drive, for example, where volunteers are able to donate supplies they used for THON Weekend and no longer need. Spectators, organization members, volunteers, and IDCs can then purchase them at a very reduced cost to limit the requirement of going out and buying these items, which can add up. As THON has grown over the years, it’s also important for me and my inventory team to be cognizant of ways to optimize the storage we have by utilizing different inventory strategies to account for our YTY growth."

What makes your committee so cool, fun, and/or important?

"Besides our amazing SLime Green color, of course, supply logistics is an incredibly cool, fun, and important committee I have the honor of being a part of. Through hard work and effort, my committee is able to support and facilitate countless magical moments across the THON community. Whether it’s building balloon towers for attendees at the THON 5K to take pictures with, providing toys and stuffed animals to the children at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital to squeeze on tight to, or providing a water gun that will light up a dancer’s face while being chased down by a wide-eyed child on the floor of the BJC, we play a role in creating these endless memories. I chose the theme Supply Endless Memories for Supply Logistics 2024 since that is what we are enabling, and I couldn’t be more proud to play a part in this committee."

What are the overall goals you hope to reach with your committee for THON 2024?

"The main overall goal I hope to reach for supply logistics for THON 2024 is maximizing our in-kind donation acquisition. Through our generous in-kind donors, we are able to ensure that 95 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to our sole beneficiary and partner in the fight, Four Diamonds. By creatively and analytically utilizing data as I mentioned, we will hopefully be able to acquire donations more effectively to forward our committee’s mission of supplying crucial items at every pre-THON event and THON Weekend, as well as ensuring the maximum amount of fundraising is going directly to Four Diamonds so that none of our families have to see a medical bill. The other overarching goal I hope to achieve, or at least set a strong foundation for, is forwarding THON’s commitment to DEI and sustainability initiatives through actionable steps supply logistics can take."

Why do you THON?

"My connection to THON’s mission has evolved over my four years of involvement with this organization. Each year, I am astounded by the impact this community has on our children and families impacted by childhood cancer. The financial contributions we are able to provide are incredible each and every year, but it is also the constant emotional support that we can offer to our families. Providing our families with a home away from home and friendships and connections that will last a lifetime, although intangible, inspires me each and every day. I THON so that we can move one step closer to a cure for childhood cancer so that kids can be kids, and I THON for the Kiera Adkin family."

What’s your favorite THON memory?

"My favorite THON memory was this past year during THON Weekend. I had the honor of being a captain, a primary chair for my organization, and also a dancer for the 46 hours. Being able to dance for 46 hours, surrounded by friends and family, is an experience I will never forget. Seeing the THON community through a new set of lenses I hadn’t experienced before was one of the most incredible perspectives I was able to have."

Per Onward State tradition, if you could be any dinosaur, which would you be and why?