For the first time ever, Kent State’s PRSSA Chapter has entered a team in the National Organ Donation Advocacy Competition (NODAC). This team consists of four PRSSA Kent members who are underclassmen in the PR program: Sophia Iannelli, Isabell Illig, Jailyn Hall and Vanessa Gresley.
Their campaign “You Have the Heart to be a Hero” targeted college students on the Kent State campus. Their over-arching goal was to ignite conversation among students about stepping up to save someone’s life in the unfortunate situation of death. To effectively reach this goal, the NODAC team partnered with Donate Life Ohio, the state's organ, eye and tissue recovery agency dedicated to educating Ohioans about donation and motivating them to join the Ohio Donor Registry.
Caitlin Widuck, the director of community outreach for Donate Life Ohio, assisted the team with information, materials and speakers for their events. She and the team both acknowledged the need for people to better understand what organ donation entails. For example, most people aren’t aware that one donor can save up to eight other lives with their donated organs. Donor’s bodies are never un-presentable for a funeral, and all medical costs associated with the transplant are always covered by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
These three facts were on hot-cards that the team handed out to over 200 students in the Kent State Student Center during their main event on April 25. The team used this opportunity to speak with students passing by throughout the day. There were three guests from Donate Life Ohio that joined the team at their table. These individuals were able to share their stories with students and helped start conversation about becoming organ donors.
This event was treated like a celebration which exemplified the way an organ donor can be a hero in other peoples’ lives. Flash the KSU mascot joined the group in the morning to take pictures with students, and the 4 Paws for Service dogs hung around the table the entire event.
This campaign was incredibly successful, and the team surpassed their objectives after informing more than 150 students about organ donation, having 88 students pledge to start the conversation with their family and friends and motivating six people to register on-site to be an organ donor.
PRSSA Kent is so proud of your awesome work, team!