12/2/19: JoeCo

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Hey all! My name is Joe Connolly, but since no one in FOTO has ever called me by actual name,
you may know me as JoeCo. And incase Pete ever tries to tell you otherwise, it is in fact spelled
with an E. 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 Chairs year,
alongside Brooks.

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 made me go out of my comfort zone. But I then
got more involved my junior year. At the beginning I was hanging out in the background going
to the meetings only because 4 of my roommates were officers and I kind of felt like an ass if I
didn’t go. But as the year went on, I started making closer friends in FOTO and getting way
more comfortable. Although I was really enjoying spending time with all the members at bake
sales, canvasing weekends, and family visits, I still didn’t think I would take on a bigger role in
FOTO. This was until THON 2018. Because I wasn’t that involved in FOTO before that year,
2018 was my first THON experience and it really showed me what FOTO really means. After
staying there for about 40 hours and watching as FOTO was announced as the 4 th highest Special
Interest Organization with over $113,000, I really knew I wanted to do as much as possible.

So that is why I decided to run for an officer position for the following year. Much to my
surprise, I was offered the position of Alternative Fundraising Chair during my senior year. If
you’re not aware, that position involved setting up events such as bake sales and restaurant
fundraisers. Setting these events up included talking to strangers, which I usually absolutely hate,
but because I knew it was for FOTO, that fear wasn’t there. And this brings me all the way back
to 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. I mean Brooks tacked on some extra pounds just so we could be
Chubby Co-Chairs and Pat and I bought official NBA headbands so we could be Headband
Brothers like Ben and Jimmy were last year(RIP). How much closer can you get?

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 will share the same experience in the next couple years. Hopefully I’ll be
able to meet some of the newer people later this year, whether it be at Duffers, THON weekend
or one of the random weekends I’ll be up there. I’m wishing you all the best of luck with the rest
of the year, both with fundraising and finals coming up in the next couple of weeks. See ya!

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