By Georgia Slater
For Unwind magazine
In a large open room, students who have pledged to stay on their feet celebrate while the hour hand on a clock circles 360 degrees, marking the hours from noon to midnight. However, the 12-hour dance marathon in March isn’t the only way Terp Thon parties for its cause. FTK week brings the fun to the fall from Nov. 13–19.
Terp Thon is a student organization at the University of Maryland that works year-round to raise money for Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., according to the Terp Thon website. Each year, the organization dedicates a full week in the fall, FTK week, to raise awareness, increase recruitment and fundraise for the kids by hosting various events for students to attend.
Sophomore hearing and speech sciences major Vanessa Lewinsky, a member of Terp Thon’s planning team, became involved with Terp Thon after listening to the stories of the miracle kids, which reminded her of when her own sister went through chemotherapy. She enjoys working with Terp Thon because of the personal connection to the cause and because FTK week is another way students can connect with the organization like she has.
“Typically FTK Week is very successful,” Melanie Babi, events chair of Terp Thon, said. “It is definitely something people look forward to, which is why we continue to do it every year.” .
Although the Terp Thon team is still in the planning stages for the weeklong celebration, their main focus is organizing the kickoff event on November 13, explained Babi.
“Each event we host is something we feel will engage students on campus, whether it be a sporting event, a fundraising night at one of the restaurants on Route 1, or a fun social media challenge,” Babi said. “We always keep in mind our three Terp Thon pillars: Cause Connection, Recruitment and Fundraising…[in creating] campaigns that exemplify the root of our cause, spread awareness and help us raise funds For The Kids.”
Some of the events happening this year include a talent show, fall fest and a social media takeover, as well as tabling throughout the week to sell supplies, invite people to the events and encourage students to register for Terp Thon, according to communications major Cait Lane, a member of the Family Relations committee on the Terp Thon Planning Team.
“This week is so fun to participate in because it helps gain a lot of awareness about what is going on even though Terp Thon itself is still months away,” Lane said. “It’s also really fun seeing everybody on the planning team come together and work towards making the week so successful for the campus.”
The ultimate goal of Terp Thon’s FTK week is to promote and establish connections, sophomore education major and member of the Greek relations planning team Alyssa Marshak explained. “It’s so important because we want to tell everyone who we fundraise for, why we do it and why you should get involved.”