Julia M. Snyder
On Wednesday, April 12, the Millersville University chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) hosted their third annual National Organ Donation Awareness Campaign (NODAC) event, Ville Has Heart. The event is part of a public relations campaign that the organization submits to a national campaign competition hosted by Rowan University.
The event was hosted in the atrium in the Student Memorial Center, and featured food, games and information about organ donation.
“We’re raising awareness… influencing family conversations… and eradicating some myths [about organ donation],” said Maggi Mumma, Vice President of the Millersville chapter of PRSSA. “This is our third year participating, our last year is when we termed the even Ville Gives Life… we wanted to involve the community.”
“We were able to tell from those results that people are heavily influenced by being able to know that they can help someone and maybe even save their life,” said Mumma.
According to the American Transplant Foundation, 22 people die every day waiting for transplant organs. One donor holds the potential to save eight of those individuals lives.
Community members were encouraged to join the PRSSA chapter. to show that Ville Has Heart by enjoying slices of pizza, registering to be an organ donor and enjoying some of the giveaways from the businesses that held tables in the atrium. There were tables hosted by PSECU and Sephora for the majority of the event. Those who were registered organ donors were able to receive a free makeover from Sephora employees. There were also raffles for gift cards from local businesses, and a photo station with plenty of Ville Gives Life signs for participants to use as props.
There was a station with a laptop in place to give community members a way to register as organ donors at the event. In previous years, PRSSA has gotten anywhere from 10 to 20 participants to register during the event. This year, they set their sights a little higher, and hoped to register around 50 people as organ donors.
The purpose of the campaign is always to educate community members and eradicate some of the myths about organ donation. PRSSA typically measures the success of their campaign through the number of individuals who register to be organ donors during the event.
The event continued into the afternoon, and concluded with a speaking engagement. Members of the community and their family stepped forward to share their stories about how their lives have been affected by organ donation. Among the speakers this year were Ashley Duross and her father Michael Duross, Ellen Smoll, Evelyn Morales and Albert Weibel.
“[The speaking engagement] tugs at the heartstrings for sure, but it definitely portrays the importance of being healthy and kind of leaving your legacy behind,” said Mumma.
Ashley Duross and her father, Michael Duross had previously spoken at Ville Gives Life in 2016. Their keynote speaker from 2016, Tony Forte, was unable to participate in the event this year because he is recovering from the five transplants he had received in the fall of 2016.
The MU chapter of PRSSA has plans to evaluate their campaign and submit it to the NODAC campaign contest for this year.