Kent State Students Host "Flash Mob" to Launch National Donate Life Month
Kent State University public relations students organized a flash mob on the Kent campus today to spotlight the need for organ donors. April is National Donate Life Month.
A flash mob is defined as: “A large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public space, perform an unusual action for a brief period of time, then quickly disperse.” The goal was to attract attention for the need for organ donations and to give Kent State students and others the opportunity to register.
Nationally 18 people will die each day waiting for an organ. In Ohio, 214 people died while waiting for an organ transplant in 2006.
The Kent State public relations students are participating in the Do It Now College Challenge, a statewide competition among 13 colleges and universities in Ohio sponsored by Donate Life Ohio. The goal of the campaign is to recruit 400,000 new organ donors in Ohio.
“Often, this is a subject that people don’t want to think about it,” says Julie McKinney, a junior public relations major and PRKent Do It Now team member. “Ultimately, organ donors save lives. We want to educate people about organ and tissue donation. And, hopefully, we can successfully encourage people to become donors.”
Becoming a donor is simple. Ohio residents can sign-up while renewing their driver’s license or visit the PRKent Do It Now team’s Web site at www.doitnowohio.org/
A single donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and improve the lives of up to 50 people through tissue donation.
Kent State’s campaign to increase organ donors was developed in the fall 2007 Public Relations Campaigns class and is being implemented by a team of Kent PR students throughout spring semester.
“Since this is a real public relations campaign, the students are learning that a good idea on paper isn’t necessarily an easy idea to execute,” says Michele Ewing, a Kent State assistant professor and faculty adviser for the project. “This campaign is giving the students valuable experience and an opportunity to learn how they can use their communications skills to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.”
The challenge to the student teams competing at Ohio universities is to register as many new donors as possible by May. Each university has its own predetermined registration goal, based on its surrounding population. The goal for Kent State is set at 14,571, and there have been 7,429 donors registered as of late March.
In addition to the flash mob, Kent’s PR students are using a variety of other tactics to increase donor registration, but one of the innovative ways they are increasing awareness for this campaign is through the social networking site Facebook. Students have created a Facebook page to inform other students and peers about the campaign.
“The flash mob was an effective way to get the Kent community to pause for an important cause today,” says McKinney. “It also was a fun experience.”