The University of Iowa’s Undergraduate Student Government is attempting to incentivize vaccination against COVID-19 through six weeks of raffles for all vaccinated students.
The program is open to all UI students who have shown their vaccination card at the Iowa Memorial Union and filled out an online form that accompanied an email sent out by USG. Prizes include dinner with President Barbara Wilson, Apple products, VIP access to sporting events, and more.
USG President Regan Smock said offering incentives for those who are vaccinated was relatively easy because of the unity within the UI administration towards vaccination. She also outlined the goals of an incentive-based program like this, with safety being a top priority.
“We want students to get vaccinated,” Smock said. “We know people who get vaccinated are protected against the virus in a way that unvaccinated [people] are not, and college students live a pretty communal life, so anything we can do to make sure we’re being as safe as possible.”
Smock added that by incentivizing people to report that they had received the vaccine, there was an opportunity to understand what the vaccination rates were among students while giving the students an opportunity to win prizes.
“It’s against the law for us to ask students if they got vaccinated,” Smock said. “But having this method of students self-reporting their vaccination gives us a lot better idea of, ‘Are we safe?’”
She credited much of the work on creating this incentive program to the Division of Student Life, the Office of the President, and the Office of Strategic Communication.
In another USG email, the organization advised students that they had the opportunity to pick up free K-N95 masks from the front desk of the IMU.
Smock said the project to distribute K-N95 masks originated within the UI administration as a result of concerns from faculty and staff. Smock said they wanted more protection from a respirator-type mask which is more effective than regular cloth masks.
The university ordered K-N95s in bulk, Smock said, and brought USG in to help advertise them to any student that may want one.
“Students have the accessibility to a good mask if they think it makes them feel more comfortable,” Smock said.