Source: State Hornet
Public relations students at Sacramento State are on a campaign to create a lasting legacy for Donate Life by spreading the word about organ and tissue donation.
With the help of public relations professor Tim Howard, the Communications 158 class is raising awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation and encouraging everyone who hasn’t already signed the registry to become a donor.
“The purpose of the Sac State Legacy campaign is to promote the California organ and tissue registry and to educate the public about giving the gift of life through donation,” said Kyla Aquino, senior public relations major.
The campaign is working closely with Donate Life California, California’s organ and tissue registry.
“We’ve learned a lot from their methods, because they know what works and what doesn’t work in promoting organ donation to the public,” Aquino said.
In high school, Aquino received kidney donations from both her parents.
“My highest hope for the campaign is for every single student to become a donor and have a conversation with their loved ones where it’s not even an issue to donate, it’s ‘Of course I’m a donor, isn’t everyone?’” Aquino said.
The class is doing all it can to raise awareness about the campaign. April is National Donate Life month, which is when the campaign will swing into full effect. The month highlights the generosity of donors who have already donated their organs and tissue to recipients, as well as raise awareness for the needs of more people to sign the Donate Life registry.
On March 20, the students set up an information table at a Stockton Thunder hockey game to help raise awareness for Donate Life and spread the word about their campaign.
The students used different methods to get peoples’ attention.
“I’m very comfortable getting in people’s faces and asking if they have pink dot, and disarming them with humor,” Aquino said.
For the event, the class set its goal for new organ donor registrations at 50 people. After the hockey game, 78 people had registered, including those who went home and registered online after the event.
The public relations class will further promote the organ donation campaign during Midtown’s Second Saturday on April 14. Second Saturday is an opportunity to reach a different demographic than seen at the Stockton Thunder game or on campus.
“A lot of ethnic minorities don’t speak about organ donations, so this also is part of your multi-cultural outreach for organ donation,” Aquino said.
Rafael Delgado will be the featured artist at the event and he is allowing the campaign a booth in his studio during Second Saturday to help share his spotlight on the cause.
“Second Saturday is when Sacramento’s midtown comes alive,” said Autumn Brown, Sac State public relations alumna. “A lot of people who don’t even live in the area are going to be in Sac State’s back yard and it’s only natural for them to want to be a part of it.”
Brown graduated from Sac State in 2008 and is now working for Donate Life California.
In February 2008, Brown’s brother was in a fatal accident just before beginning his college career at Sac State. Before her brother died, he chose to be an organ donor.
“Knowing that my brother was a donator gives me a huge sense of comfort. He donated seven organs, saving five people,” Brown said. “There’s someone breathing with my brother’s lungs and another man beating with my brother’s heart.”
Brown said, although it’s hard to lose a family member, she is comforted knowing they donated themselves after death to save other people.
“This class is doing a phenomenal job, they’ve gotten creative and they’ve gone outside the box and really figured out how to reach this 18- to 24-year-old market,” Brown said.
Howard prepared the class to take on the campaign beforehand by lecturing and teaching his students public relations concepts that they’re now putting into practice.
“I get tears in my eyes and feel the empathy. I’m proud of the young people today,” Howard said. “They’re donating their bodies for others to sustain life. They’re really giving to the community.”