Author Archives: Andie Lynn Sullivan

Canning and why it works

What is it?

As Penn State students, THON is something most of us are very familiar with. For the few that might not be, THON is a 46 hour dance marathon that students fundraise all year for until the big weekend in February where all the work over the year comes together and the total amount has been raised is revealed. Canning is a fundraising technique that raises millions of dollars for THON each year. Students will stay at a family’s home where they can have a home cooked meal and relax at night, then wake up early and stand in front of store fronts in fun Penn State gear and receive donations from people of the community. Canning is one of the most effective ways of fundraising and brings in a lot of donations for the cause.

What makes it so effective? 

What sets canning apart from the other fundraising aspects of THON is that it is more personal. Sharing a link on facebook, setting up donation boxes, or sending out THONvelopes, are all useful and important ways of fundraising, but do not have the same effect has canning. A main part of why canning works so well is because there is some societal pressure. As a person in the community, you pull up to a bagel shop, a Target, a diner, or any other local business and are confronted with college students standing there with signs and cans. Olivia Mitchell writes here about Robert Cialdini’s six weapons of influence and talks about the power of being affected by the people around you. If someone is walking passed a bunch of students canning and he or she sees other passer-by’s donating, this increases the pressure and makes this person more inclined to donate. People are afraid of looking like bad person in front of their peers and will especially try to fit in to what is normal in society.

canning_2The main reason I believe canning is more effective than other forms of fundraising is because you are able to make personal connections with people of the community and while not everything is about the money, this does make people want to donate more when they feel a more personal connection to the cause. Here is an article where Ian Altman talks about after talking to someone with a personal connection to ALS made him want to get more involved in the Ice Bucket Challenge. While canning, you have the opportunity to talk to many different people who have stories to share while you can share your similar experiences. We talk about THON weekend and what it meant to us while people in the community will often share stories that have a connection. For example, I went canning this weekend and had a man walk up to my group and show us a picture of a boy who was clearly ill. He explained that this boy was his son and that the picture was taken two years ago while he was undergoing chemotherapy. Unfortunately, this man lost his son in August and explained to us how important fundraising for this cause was. For us, it boosted morale to keep pushing on for a few more hours and then for those who heard the story it gave them a personal outlook on the situation that they might not have had before.


The personal and face to face contact that comes with canning makes it an essential and effective of our fundraising techniques for THON.



Swimming on a Full Stomach… Dangerous or Not?

We’ve always heard the saying that you should wait a half hour after eating to go swimming. When we were little we just accepted this idea, even though as toddlers we would get annoyed that we couldn’t jump right back into the water. However, they were no questions asked how these two things were even correlated. Now being older, I’ll eat a chipotle burrito and go right back in the water with no second thought. But, I was interested in seeing where this saying came from and if there is any actual truth behind it or not.

Where did this idea come from?

This article talks about the origins of this story. David Mikkelson, the author, parallels this story with that one the boogieman. It was basically made up as a tall tale to scare kids from eating on a full stomach. The idea of doing this was said to lead to cramps, according to this article. If you ask me, parents made up this myth so they wouldn’t have to deal with their kids in the pool. I worked at a camp this summer and had to watch second grade girls in a pool for one hour a week. Even though this doesn’t sound like a long time, it felt like eternity. As a parent, I would most definitely make something up to keep my young child out of the water.



Is it really a myth?

HERE is a New York Times article that looks into this claim and the truth behind it. The article shows that the claim is that the cramps that come from eating then going in the pool, can increase the risk of drowning. Dr. Roshini Rajapaska that explains that these cramps are possible, but there is no statistic that show you are more at risk of drowning if you go in the water after eating. He explains that these statistics could change if alcoholic beverages are involved, but for the most part this myth is just that. A myth.





The Binge-Watching Phenomenon

We have all fallen victim to binge watching at one point or another. You’re chilling in your room, procrastinating your homework, and you try to resist the “continue watching” but are suddenly 5 hours deep into Grey’s Anatomy. This is a college students both best friend and worst enemy.

What can’t you stop?

Times have definitely changed from when we were growing up or how our parents grew up. It used to be that you had to be in front of the television at a certain time to watch your favorite movie or show. There wasn’t any $8 a month streaming service that you could get hundreds of television shows or movies at your disposal. This article has some interesting statistics about binge watching. Kali Holloway, the author of the article, talks about the intrinsic motivation we have to continue watching. She relates it to the concept of eating potato chips where you can’t have just one. Having it so easily accessible makes us so much more susceptible to keep going because there is literally nothing to stop you. Here is an article that goes into more detail about the science of why we always continue watching. Author, Jordan Gaines Lewis, talks about how humans are naturally empathetic and we want to relate and connect emotionally with people, even if it is through a television screen.


What is this doing to us? 

It is no secret that watching six hours of our favorite Netflix shows is bad for us, but exactly how bad is it? This article give insight to a few problems one could encounter when indulging in another episode. Writer Chelsea Stone points out the potential health effects as well as social problems this might cause. It makes sense how one’s health and social status’s could be effected from laying in bed for multiple hours a day watching “Breaking Bad”. Stone points out how the lack of movement and exercise can put one more at risk for diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. HERE shows an interesting study where a 25 year old man went on a monitored 94 hour binge watch. The man, AJ Fragoso, had a check up before and after his binge watch. Dr. Robert Glatter found that Fragoso’s heart rate had increased and how doing this for extended periods of time can lead to weight gain. The effect that is more prevalent to us college students’ is the decrease in productivity that any study in the world could prove.




Feeling Homesick?

College is something that no class, teacher, parent, or friend, can ever really prepare you for. You receive a plethora of advice from your elders or even some peers that have already gone through a year or two of college. Things like time management, getting enough sleep, putting yourself out there, going to class, and getting to know your professors are common tips that a newly emerging college freshman will receive. Last summer, as I was getting ready to embark on the new adventure in my life, attending Penn State, I heard all of this and then some from everyone in my life. I felt ready to take on the next four years. My mom and I raided Bed Bath & Beyond so I would have everything colored coordinated from my bedding, to my desk organizers, to my pillows, to my shower caddy. This was followed by going to staples and leaving with notebooks and binders galore. I felt ready to take on this next chapter of my life.


However, I believe you are never truly ready until you are actually there, emerged in the college culture. It’s a big, and sometimes scary, adjustment. In reality, nothing is stopping you from laying in your room all day, only getting up to get chicken fingers from the commons. Nothing is stopping you from going out every night until 2 in the morning. This new environment and responsibility can make it very easy to miss home and having your parents around, catering for your every need. I definitely felt this way the beginning of freshman year, as well as every time I come back after being home for a break. So I decided to look into the science behind being homesick.

What is homesickness?

 HERE Duke professor Mark Leary gives his take on homesickness describing how it is an emotion that comes with feeling out of place and without your usual support system. This is exactly what moving away for college is doing so it is easy to see how this is an emotion that a lot of college students have felt at one point or another. Professor Leary also talks about how it can just be a plethora of emotions merging together to put one in the state of being homesick. 

This article from CNN includes a personal story about Keila Pena-Hernandez and her experience when she moved from her home of Puerto Rico to the completely new environment of the University of Missouri. This is clearly a bigger move than someone like me who went from New Jersey to Pennsylvania, but still relatable. She talks about the hype and excitement of a new experience but after this honeymoon period the loneliness and anxiety start to hit you. The article makes an interesting parallel of how the emotion is the same for people of all ages and caused by the same type of change in environment. This was fascinating because I feel like the cause of certain emotions like sadness, fear, or happiness are different depending on your age, but that is not the case when it comes to homesickness.

How do you cure it?

There is no medicinal cure for homesickness but there are things you can do in your life to help alleviate the emotion. Obviously, as time goes on you will become more accustomed to your new environment. However, it is super important to get involved so you can build a support system at your home away from home. Keeping in touch with family and friends on a regular basis is important, but having people around you that you can call in a time of need, or just to hang out with will help keep you sane. Especially at a school like Penn State it’s crucial to find your place and make the big school feel small.



Science doesn’t click with me

Hi, my name is Andie Sullivan and I’m a sophomore majoring in business, most likely accounting or finance. Honestly, I chose this course because a friend of mine told me it was an easy gen ed and that the professor was cool. I wanted to take a really easy science course since it has always been my least favorite subject. It has also been something I’ve never been good at either, so something like Chemistry or Biology would have been a disaster.

What really turned me off about science in elementary, middle, and high school were the teachers. Throughout that time I only had one science teacher that made it interesting and as exciting as science could be to me. This was in seventh grade and I never had anyone that compared to him. It’s annoying that this is case because maybe I could’ve loved science if I had the right teachers. However, the content has never been something that has clicked with me but who knows what could’ve been different if my teachers were different. But HERE is an article about scientific stories from 2015 you might have missed which I found interesting.  Otherwise this is my general feeling towards science:confused