Southern Utah University students held their own in an organ donor drive against other Utah colleges and universities with the goal of increasing the state’s registered donors as part of the national Make a Difference Day. In fact, SUU came out on top in the Donate Life collegiate competition, with the most overall registrants, proving yet again that SUU students have taken the University’s civic engagement focus, quite literally, to heart.
Contributing well over 1,000 new donor registrants, SUU students comprised more than 50 percent of contest-driven registrants statewide.
SUU Student Association (SUUSA) President Cody Alderson says he is proud of the success of the University in leading the competition. "SUU arguably has one of the most involved student bodies in the state, so it was natural for us as students to come together in such great numbers to be successful," he says.
In addition to a good showing from current T-Birds, the University was also able to garner support from local residents and alumni who joined the donor drive.
SUU President Michael T. Benson says he is very proud of the efforts of the University to pull together for such a great cause.
Because the organ waiting list has recently surpassed 100,000 people, there is a great need for more organ donors. The organs of one donor can help save up to nine lives and in one month, SUU was able to register enough donors to potentially save over 4,500 lives. Benson adds, "If this isn't a source of incredible T-bird pride, I don't know what is."
And though the potential to save a life is a worthy cause all on its own, the competition, sponsored by national non-profit Donate Life, also offered scholarship funding as an incentive for participating schools. As the contest’s overall winner and two-time runner-up in other competition categories, SUU came away from the competition with $14,000 to go toward a student scholarship endowment.
In addition to the students and community pulling together, Alderson says that much of the T-Bird’s success in this competition is to the credit of project leader and SUUSA representative Amy Hancock. "I gave her the charge to win, and she didn't disappoint," says Alderson.
Hancock and her committee put in countless hours organizing recruitment activities and gathering donor registrations.