Dance Marathon

The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. All proceeds benefit The Four Diamonds Fund, Conquering Childhood Cancer, at the Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. This year-long fundraising event culminates in a 46-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping Dance Marathon in the Bryce Jordan Center each February. Over the past 40 years, Penn State students have raised nearly 90 million dollars and have helped thousands of children and families fight pediatric cancer.

Student-athletes at Penn State are involved in the year-round fundraising efforts and participate in numerous events before and throughout THON weekend. Each year, a SAAB THON Committee is elected and consists of an Entertainment Captain, a Communications Captain, a Family and Dancer Relations Chair, and Fundraising Chairs. These individuals oversee SAAB’s THON involvement and fundraising efforts, and help select 4-6 student-athletes to dance in the 46-hour event. Some of the events organized annually by SAAB to benefit THON include: the Tailgate Barbecue, the Mr. and Miss Student-Athlete Pageant, canning at sporting events, solicitation letters, and an online memorabilia auction. Student-athletes also participate in the THON Family Carnival in November, and Athlete Hour and the annual Pep Rally during THON weekend.


The Tailgate BBQ is SAAB’s annual kickoff fundraising event to benefit THON. The BBQ is typically held each October during Homecoming week. Student-athlete volunteers help organize the event and serve the food.


Canning at Sporting Events

At various Penn State athletic events occurring from October to February, student-athletes help collect donations from their fans. This is a great opportunity for student-athletes to meet Penn State fans while raising money to support THON.


Each year student-athletes spend time putting together solicitation letters to send to their families and friends. SAAB THON Committee members build a donor database as well as assist in preparing the mailings themselves.

Online Memorabilia Auction Each year, the various athletic teams donate items to be auctioned online to benefit THON. The auction takes place each November and includes: athletic equipment, tickets to athletic events and Penn State sports gear, banners, posters and uniforms signed by current and former student-athletes.

THON Family Carnival

The THON Family Carnival is sponsored by Dance Marathon every year, and provides THON families an opportunity to connect with Penn State students and other THON families. The event includes carnival games, crafts, and music. Each year student-athletes host a craft and game station during the carnival.

THON Athlete Hour

During THON weekend, student-athletes participate in Athlete Hour. Athlete Hour enables student-athletes the opportunity to spend time playing with THON children and their families. Each sport has its own station and activity.

THON Pep Rally

The Pep Rally is held each year on Saturday night of THON weekend. Members of various athletic teams participate in pumping up the crowd and competing in a talent competition. The theme of the competition changes from year to year, but always consists of teams choreographing and performing group dances to songs that relate to the theme. Student-athletes have a great time hosting the show, and the event is always a crowd pleaser with THON spectators and dancers.

For additional information about the SAAB’s involvement with the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, contact Liz Johnson

For more information about THON or to donate, please visit