Saturday, February 28, 2009

Do Penn State Students Run the Development Office?

The Old Main Propaganda Shop has been very successful in branding the Penn State Dance Marathon, a.k.a  THON, as the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. They pitch the meme relentlessly. Here's the Penn State Propaganda Portal last week as THON was underway.
THON 2009 began Friday, Feb. 20, in the Bryce Jordan Center on Penn State's University Park campus. The 46-hour Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, the largest student-run-philanthropy in the world ...
And news outlets, like the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, uncritically repeat the claim. Last year I put the lie to this idea and this year the Centre Daily Times  did some very good reporting which made it even clearer that this isn't a student-run event in an meaningful way.
Penn State spokeswoman Jill Shockey said the university’s Associated Student Activities office within Student Affairs helps the finance committee for Thon — as it does with all student clubs — and the university development office handles corporate donors and donations for those wanting tax receipts.

Information on those donors is considered “proprietary,” Shockey said.
If this were a student-run philanthropy wouldn't this information be controlled by the students and not Old Main?

In its other reporting on the event this year, the CDT,to its further credit, did not state as fact that THON is the largest student run philanthropy in the world.
Organizers call "THON" the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. They say they've
raised $52 million since 1973, including $6.6 million last year.
I  hope this signals a more skeptical attitude from the CDT toward Old Main.

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