By Abby Reich @missabbyrae23
The UW Oshkosh Dr. Julie Henderson Public Relations Student Society of America chapter started its Blooming Lives campaign for the National Organ Donor Awareness Competition on April 13, and they are already “blooming with joy.”
The PRSSA chapter at Rowan University sponsors the competition. The founder of the chapter received a life-saving kidney transplant from his sister, so the chapter created the annual PRSSA competition for other chapters to gain experience in event planning and to bring awareness to organ donation.
The Oshkosh chapter has been planning its campaign since February, and their events will kick off at the end of April. Their campaign has two main components: the Blooming Lives flower drive, which will be held 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. April 27 in Reeve Memorial Union, and a campus-wide planting event on April 29.
Carissa Brzezinski, the vice president of events for UW Oshkosh’s PRSSA chapter, is leading the campaign. “This campaign is a reflection of our chapter, not just me,” she said. “I want everyone to feel involved throughout the entire process and to feel proud of all the work we have done.”
Brzezinski also came up with the concept of flowers for the campaign. When she was thinking about the campaign, she kept coming back to the idea that NODAC is always held in the spring. She said, “There’s something about the springtime and new life … and that serves organ donation and the new life that it creates, as well.” Members brainstormed the chapter’s name for the campaign, “Blooming Lives” for organ donation, during a chapter meeting.
One of the great things about the flower drive is that there will be no charge for the pansies. The flowers will be free to anyone who is a registered organ donor, signs up to become an organ donor or learns more about organ donation at their booth on April 27.
According to Brzezinski, “The goal of the flower drive is to focus on the positive benefits of donation and to celebrate those who are already donors and those who want to learn more and possibly become donors.”
After the flower drive, the chapter will plant 300 pansies on campus in partnership with the university on April 27. The chapter chose orange pansies to create a visual and long-lasting awareness on campus for organ donation. Brzezinski said, “Like organ donation itself, planting these flowers not only benefits the cause, but our campus community as well.” The pansies will be planted in beds on the front side of Kolf, Horizon, Dempsey and the power plant.
The Oshkosh chapter has a long history participating in NODAC starting in 1997 when the competition began. They also have a long history of success. In the last 10 years alone, they have received two firsts, two seconds, and two honorable mentions. Its members are grateful to be able to apply the skills they have learned in the classroom with their peers and colleagues for a very worthy cause.
“Blooming Lives is an honest and genuine campaign focused on bringing even more positivity and grace to the conversation around organ donation,” Brzezinski said. The chapter’s goal is to increase awareness of organ donation, and they hope that the campus community will take part in the Blooming Lives events.
The chapter will learn the results of the competition in May. Winning chapters will be recognized and will receive their awards at the PRSSA National Conference in October 2017.