“Spring Break 2.0. Save a Life” Event to raise awareness of organ donations

Written By Diana Navarrete

On March 6, the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and Advertising Federation (ADFed) will be hosting their main event titled “Spring Break 2.0. Save a Life,” to raise awareness of organ donors while providing free food and drinks, games, music, merchandise and a Pittsburgh Staycation giveaway at Village Park, weather permitting.

If it rains, it will be hosted on the second floor of Lawrence Hall with a limited number of people present in the room at the same time.

The “Spring Break 2.0. Save a Life” event is meant to be a replacement for the Spring Break Point Park did not have this year due to the pandemic with games such as pong (without the alcohol), limbo, and operation, as well as free merchandise including koozies, sunglasses, laptop stickers, and temporary tattoos. Attendees will have the opportunity to sign up to become an organ donor and learn more about it.

By signing up to become an organ donor and current organ donors, they will be entered into a drawing to win a Pittsburgh Staycation package that includes a one- night stay at a Pittsburgh hotel with dinner included. 

Strict COVID-19 safety measures will be followed during the event, with sterilization between activities and provided sanitization stations. Attendees will be required to wear masks, and food and drinks will be individually wrapped. 

As part of their community outreach project, The Heart Project, both ADFed and PRSSA are working directly with the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE) to raise awareness of organ donations to the Point Park community through the event. CORE is a non-profit organ procurement organization in the United States that works firsthand with donor families and designated healthcare professionals to make organ, tissue, and cornea transplants possible.

“One of the main priorities that we really want to do is really just raise awareness and uncertainties or questions that people may have, and then also getting people to sign up to become organ donors. Trying to get that number up is really important,” Miranda McArdle, a junior public relations and advertising major and event co-coordinator said.

There is a scarce amount of registered organ donors nationally, and more than 100,000 people are left waiting for the miracle of receiving an organ transplant. As part of a statewide competition through PRSSA, AdFed and PRSSA collaborated on this service project to raise awareness about organ donations and help the Point Park community register using the Pennsylvania online portal. 

“There’s actually a lot of students who aren’t currently organ donors. And this is just a great way to find out how easily you can become an organ donor, which saves lives and helps so many people in need,” Emily Sjoberg, PRSSA vice-president, event co-coordinator and junior public relations and advertising major said. 

Funding for the full event series was made possible through the Community Engagement Department with their $1,000 Social Impact Grant. Since mid-January, both student organizations have worked rigorously on this service project to ensure both entertainment and to raise awareness for a good cause.

“We’ve been really fortunate because we were able to get the social impact mini grant from the Department of Community Engagement in order to help us with the funding for different prizes that incentivize people to come out to the events,” Sjoberg said.

Since the third week of February, there has been an event going on each week. An information table was set up on Feb. 17 to promote the upcoming events, and on Feb. 22, there was a virtual Bingo night based on organ donations. The information table, pamphlets spread out throughout the campus, and social media advertisements have all led up to the main event and social media contest.

“I think that students will hopefully know about it. But certainly, if someone was walking by and had an interest and they weren’t a student, or they didn’t know about it, you know, we would love to talk to anybody….It’s really not limited to Point Park students,” Professor Camille Downing, full-time lecturer and PRSSA advisor said.

The Heart Project social media contest will continue accepting submissions through March 3 for a chance to win a $25 gift card. Students are encouraged to share a picture of themselves in or where they would prefer to go or to do during their unofficial spring break. That image is then to be sent to the Instagram page, @ppuheartproject. The post with the most likes will win.