10/5/20: Joe "JoeCo" Connolly

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Hey everyone! My name is Joe Connolly, but you may know me as JoeCo since no one in FOTO has ever actually called me by my name. I was involved in FOTO for three of my years at Penn State, getting more and more involved each year. During my senior year, I was one of the Alternative Fundraising Officers, alongside former president Brooks West.  

For me, FOTO means comfort. If you don’t know me, I am generally a very quiet and shy person. This is why even after being slightly involved in FOTO my freshman year, I barely did anything during my sophomore year. I went to a couple meetings and paid my dues, but other than that, I didn’t really do anything because it forced me out of my comfort zone. At the beginning of my junior year I was pretty much just going to the meetings, primarily because 4 of my roommates were officers and I felt guilty if I didn’t. But as the year went on, I started getting closer with people in FOTO and feeling way more comfortable with everyone. Although I really enjoyed hanging out with everyone at all our events and fundraisers, I still didn’t picture myself taking on a bigger role in FOTO. This was until THON 2018. Because I wasn’t really involved in FOTO before that year, 2018 was my first THON experience and it really showed me what FOTO really means. After standing for about 40 hours and watching as FOTO was announced as the 4th highest Special Interest Organization with over $113,000, I really knew I wanted to do as much as possible. 

So that’s why I decided to run for an officer position for the following year. I didn’t really expect to get it, but much to my surprise, I was offered the position of Alternative Fundraising Chair for my final year. If you’re not aware, that position involved setting up events such as bake sales and restaurant fundraisers. Organizing these events up required me to do things which are normally out of my comfort zone, such as walking in to random restaurants and stores and asking for permission to hold fundraisers there, but because I needed to do it for FOTO, it didn’t really bother me anymore. And this brings me back to the idea of comfort. I went from not really talking to anybody and barely making friends my freshman year to talking in front of about 100 people during the weekly meetings and building some of the strongest friendships I have. There is no way I could have previously done these things without feeling comfortable with everyone is the org. 

I’ll finish this off by saying that finding FOTO was one of the best things that ever happened to me, and I hope you all can share the same experience I had. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to meet all of you at THON 2021, but I know that you guys are going to do everything possible to kill it this year. I’m wishing you all the best of luck with the rest of the year, both with fundraising for FOTO and dealing with Covid at PSU, which I am definitely not jealous of. 

As always, Trust The Process and Go Birds,

JoeCo

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