Matthew Solomon, who’s known to many as Nittanyville’s president, knew he wanted to dance in THON ever since he was a wide-eyed freshman. Now, three years later, he’s made that dream a reality during THON 2022.
Coming from outside of Pennsylvania, Solomon arrived in Happy Valley as a freshman without a clear understanding of what THON actually was. When he finally experienced it for the first time, it was love at first sight.
“Ever since I got to Penn State, THON was something that I always heard about, but I never really knew what it was because I’m from New York,” Solomon said. “When I got up here, I joined my fraternity and went to THON a lot and immediately fell in love with it. I knew that senior year, possibly junior year, I’d want to dance.”
Solomon instantly started to get more involved with the organization. He became the family relations chair for his fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau, the following year. He started to become closer to the families his fraternity had. It was important to him to represent the families as best as he could and to give back as much as possible.
There’s one family in particular that he’s gotten super close with. Their son, Ryan got to ring the bell in Hershey in late 2021, signaling that he had conquered his treatment.
Solomon and his fraternity inherited Ryan’s family when Solomon was a sophomore, the same year he became the family relations chair. Solomon was able to build a bond with Ryan and his family to the point where he said it’s like they’re his actual family.
Ryan’s story is a prime example of what inspires and motivates Solomon to make a difference.
“Just hearing their story and hearing everything that Ryan’s had to overcome, as well as all the other family members, really inspired me,” he said. “Right away, I wanted to get even more involved than I already was.”