On Wednesday, April 15, the Illinois State University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America will host an organ donation awareness event at Milner Plaza. The event runs from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event aims to promote the benefits of organ donation, register new donors, and honor ISU students who have given the Gift of Hope in a time of tragedy—most recently Michael Collins and Ben Allison. Attendees can pick up a sticker that reads "I'm a donor in honor of," sign a pledge promising to talk about donation with friends and family, and take a chance at our donation fact vs. fiction game to win prizes. Normal Mayor Chris Koos, as well as ISU President Dietz and Senator Jason Barickman will be on-site at 1:30 p.m. to show their support for organ donation. Will you be there?
In Illinois, 5,186 people are on a transplant waiting list, and on average, 18 people die every day while waiting for a lifesaving donation. The Redbird family knows tragedy, but we also know the support of a community and the impact we can make when we come together. Let's rally together to honor the Redbird legacy of giving hope, and make a difference in not only our community, but in the state by raising awareness for organ donation.
Junior ISU PRSSA member, Brett Cozzi, hopes his personal connection to organ donation will encourage other students to register as donors.
“My father believed in organ donation and showed his support by registering as a donor; the demand far exceeds the supply. My father passed away after a two-year battle with lung cancer. He never smoked and was always active cycling, hiking, and even cross-country skiing. After he passed, the only donation he could give was his corneas. Weeks after he entered the eternal life, we received a thank you letter from the Illinois Eye Bank. My father’s final act of charity is an example of the goodness and kindness in our world. A woman from Chicago has her eyesight restored and can enjoy life to the fullest. My father’s donation goes a long way and truly reflects the type of man he was. Make a difference and become an organ donor; you could save a life.”
The community is encouraged to also show its support for organ donation at one of the off-campus locations. Applebee’s on Veteran’s Parkway is offering a 10 percent discount from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for organ donors. You can also register to be a donor there and receive the discount. From 5– 10 p.m., 15 percent of proceeds from Jason’s Deli will go back to the ISU PRSSA Donate Life event. Panda Express is donating back to the event the whole day, and Enhance Salon is donating all tips back on Tuesday, April 14 and Wednesday, April 15. Many other Bloomington-Normal organizations donated to help make the on-campus location a success.
You can help promote the event or follow along by using the hashtag #DonateLifeISU. We hope to see you at one of our locations on April 15!
By Ali Seys
Illinois State University PRSSA members volunteer their time and energy to several different philanthropies throughout the year. On Sept. 19, ISU’s PRSSA chapter had the pleasure of volunteering at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction. Volunteers helped the event run smoothly by greeting attendees, taking photos and assisting with the auctions.
March of Dimes impacts the Bloomington-Normal community by helping mothers have full-term births at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and OSF St. Joseph Medical Center. They also do work on a global scale to help decrease premature births and life-threatening problems for infants. All of the money raised during the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction went towards research and helping families affected by premature births.
The night consisted of unbelievable food, great auction items and even a photo booth. Large round tables were decorated with giant floral centerpieces and mini cupcakes from Sugar Mama Bakery, a local favorite. Volunteers began the night by testing the photo booth and sampling some of the food. Some members played paparazzi for the night and photographed the guests at the entrance. When the auction began, it was PRSSA members’ job to make sure the guests enjoyed themselves while helping out behind-the-scenes.
Many ISU PRSSA members aspire to have a career in event planning. Volunteering at this event gave members a deeper understanding of what makes an event run smoothly. One lesson learned is something is bound to go wrong. However, it is not the problems, but how they are handled that matters. As volunteers, members were able to lend a helping hand wherever needed. Many nonprofit organizations like March of Dimes rely heavily on volunteers to accomplish their goals.
It was a great feeling to have been a part of a fundraising event for such an amazing organization. For anyone who is new to ISU PRSSA, volunteer opportunities like this event are a great way to get involved and meet other members!
By Ashley Bushala
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.