Greek organizations will compete this fall to see which chapter can get the highest proportion of members vaccinated against COVID-19.
To promote more student vaccinations at the University of Iowa, Johnson County Public Health has partnered with UI Fraternity and Sorority Life to promote COVID-19 vaccination on campus until Sept. 30.
“We hope to decide that side by side with Fraternity and Sorority Life in the future what that yearly challenge might morph into, but this year we decided to throw at them the most vaccinated chapter,” Susan Vileta, Johnson County’s public health educator and public information officer said.
The project, “Chapter Champions for Health Challenge,” is a competition between fraternities and sororities to see which houses are the highest vaccinated.
“It was definitely one of Johnson County’s more innovative ideas to be able to get our age group and our Iowa City community engaged in vaccinations,” Emma Carlson, UI Panhellenic Council’s vice president of philanthropy and community service, said.
Vileta said the goal of this project is to promote healthy behaviors throughout UI Greek Life.
Johnson County Public Health plans to partner with the UI in the future for different challenges, Vileta said.
“I think this competition, in general, creates a forum to have an honest conversation with those who are and aren’t vaccinated, to be able to explain the why and the perspectives of both parties to figure out what’s going on,” Carlson said.
In Johnson County, as of Sept. 8, 74 percent those 12 and older are vaccinated, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health .
“We have strong evidence that the vaccination rate among our new, incoming students is similar to the adult vaccination rate of Johnson County and the university is actively communicating with all students and employees about the importance of getting vaccinated,” UI Student Health Director Paul Natvig wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan.
Carlson said she thinks fraternities and sororities are a great way to be able to target student populations who have a lower vaccination rate.
“That’s the kind of age group…that area that we’re trying to target, that we’re seeing a lot of infection rates with,” she said.
Carlson said she said the project will help break the stereotype that college kids are self-centered and think they are invincible.
“I think that by participating in a competition like this and having it be successful is sending the message that we are concerned about people outside of ourselves,” she said. “We are concerned about the health of those in our communities, and this is something that’s really important.”