9/19/22: Rylee Smith

Alright, let’s set the scene: imagine lil freshman Rylee navigating the involvement fair for the first time ever, collecting every single flyer from a row of THON orgs, then getting bombarded by Erin Hines to come to a meeting for an org called FOTO. The following Monday, lil Rylee and Reilly (my bestie roomie girl <3) make their way to Osmond lab for their first FOTO meeting Monday. The meeting ends, they head back to Curtin Hall, Rylee throws away all of the other THON orgs’ flyers, and the rest is history.


HEY EVERYONE, HAPPY FOTO MEETING MONDAY!!!!!! For my veterans, welcome back I miss you guys! For my newbies, welcome to the best decision you’ve made in college. My name is Rylee and I guess I’m old and washed up enough to be your alumni of the week. I graduated this past May with a degree in SRA, and now I live in Arlington, Virginia so I can work my life away and pay for my 4 years at Penn State! Fun! 


Like I mentioned before, I joined FOTO my freshman year, and my involvement with THON continued throughout all 4 years. I was a liaison my sophomore year and also a Dancer Relations committee member. During my senior year, I was the Alt Funds chair with the lovely Jodi Norton (hi queen) and I danced! I saw FOTO and THON go through a lot of changes with the pandemic, and I really believe that we emerged even stronger. I’m so happy that things seem to be completely back to normal for you guys this year, and I can’t wait to see where the year takes you. 


I’m sure everyone has given you their “why FOTO” spiel these past few meetings, but I’m going to throw mine into the mix. The phrase “FOTO is family” is corny, but it’s 100000% true. You have joined an organization that has each others’ backs. We will literally fight people who try and mess with us (looking at you, Penn State York.) I came into this org and became friends with many different types of people from all 4 classes, which probably wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t join FOTO. I’ve met some of my best friends and roommates through FOTO, and even dragged my sister into the mix so she could do the same! The best thing about all of this is that we come together and form this incredible bond over our shared love for our amazing three families and the THON community!


So go to meetings, bake sales, flag football games, office hours, restaurant fundraisers, family visits, and all of the fun things that FOTO does! The phrase “you get out of it what you put into it” is partially true in this case, because FOTO and THON give so much more than it receives. FOTO gives you lifelong friends, three sets of fantastic kids, laughs, tears, smiles, and incredible memories. I might be an alumni, but FOTO never truly ends, and I’m so excited for all of you that are just beginning this journey! 


Gonna wrap this up so I can stop crying and so you can get on with the rest of your meeting! In short, FOTO is the best THON org there is, with the coolest members and even cooler families. You made a great decision, and it only gets better from here. I’ll see you guys soon :)





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