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Host an Event

Sometimes one good event is enough to get the ball rolling on your campus. Here are a few ideas for how you can bring donation education and awareness to your peers:

Tabling Events
These are usually the most common and most successful events on undergrad campuses but your basic college campus tabling events are boring for the volunteers and annoying to passing students. We’ve all pretended to read the newspaper or talk on our cell phone as we’ve walked by them before. The best way to make them more interesting is to give them a theme relative to the time of year such as: Draft-a-Donor (military theme) around Veteran’s Day, Saturn National Donor Day on Valentine’s day, Festivus of Life around the winter holidays, Kiss Me, I’m a Donor around St. Patrick’s Day etc. The more clever, creative, and maybe even obnoxious the theme is, the more entertaining and successful the event will be.

Guest Speakers
These can be very captivating and moving events. Your local OPO can help you book speakers from transplant coordinators to transplant surgeons to organ recipients and donor families. These events work especially well on medical school and other graduate health campuses. Hosting a speaker and providing a meal (usually during your school's lunch hour) can bring an eclectic group of students, nurses, physicians and others together. Speaking with your internal medicine, surgery or ER departments to make a donation presentation part of their Grand Rounds series is another exciting option.

Sports Tournaments
Tournaments are always huge hit and can be relatively easy to organize. Find a field or court for basketball, volleyball, soccer, softball, roller hockey, ultimate Frisbee, javelin, bench press, rock-paper scissor etc. and post a sign-up in your campus rec center. Hire officials and have promotional and education materials, and possibly a guest speaker ready for your participants and spectators.

5K/10K races and Walk-a-thons are always great ways to raise awareness for a cause. A Living Green Ribbon can add a unique twist to this old idea that is sure to impress the local community and media (the green ribbon is a universal symbol for organ and tissue donation awareness). Before the start of the race all participants are given a green t-shirt and directed to stand in the form of a giant ribbon. A photographer (and if advertised correctly, probably some newspaper photographers also) can then take an aerial photo.

Donor Drive Competition
Donor Designation Drives can be very simple to set up and very effective on many different levels. They work great on campuses with larger fraternity and sorority systems. Your contacts at your local OPO can also help you host statewide university challenges, although this may be difficult if your state does not have an online registry. Of course there will always be people who sign up just for the competition and then remove their name from the registry but the widespread education and enthusiasm for donation are what make this event very worthwhile (and usually pretty inexpensive).

Concert/Variety Show
This type of event can be very popular on college campuses and can range from a couple volunteer acts and a guest speaker to a huge event involving multiple acts from multiple genres of music and entertainment, multiple guest speakers, sponsorship and involvement from businesses in your community and lots of man-hours. Either way, these events usually involve some extensive planning. They are typically far more successful when they are free to the public. Resist charging admission by looking for volunteer acts and corporate sponsorship and donations. Also, co-sponsoring an event like this with another student organization is usually a good idea.

T-Shirt Sale/Fundraiser
This can be a very effective way to raise some money for meetings/events. Keep in mind that most schools will not allow you to use Student Government money for fundraising purposes so all sales will have to be made and checks collected before the t-shirts are made. A good screen- printing company will usually charge between $5-9 per shirt depending on your design. Your best bet is a white or gray shirt with just one color printed on it. Charging $15 or so for each shirt should give you a nice profit to help fund an event or two.