Vaccination has become a hot-button topic in much of the United States, especially in Florida. With Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis threatening to pull funding from institutions that require vaccination, many Florida schools have elected to not require them, but to strongly encourage them. Being one of these schools, New College has taken part in an initiative hoping to get students to be proactive members of their community in this regard.
“This initiative is state-wide,” New College Student Alliance (NCSA) President Sofia Lombardi said. “I met with the Florida Student Association (FSA) where we talked about finding a way to motivate students to get vaccinated, and this is the form that it took.”
The FSA is an organization composed of all the student body presidents of the twelve public universities in Florida. After the meeting with the group, Lombardi then took the proposal to New College administration.
“Once I brought it to administration, Chris Kinsley was very supportive and helpful for finding the funding for the program,” Lombardi continued. “I think it’s a great way to keep the community safe and healthy.”
The incentive program functions as a raffle. If a student has submitted a copy of their vaccination card, they are automatically entered. The prizes ranged from $500 in Flex Dollars to spend at Boar’s Head to an iPad Pro, to a grand prize $5000 scholarship to use for spring 2022 tuition costs. Twelve students won the prizes in the first round, with 10 students winning the Flex Dollars, one student winning the iPad Pro and one student winning the scholarship.
The first random drawing was held the morning of Sept. 17. Another drawing will be held during the month of October. In order to further emphasize the initiative’s main goal of getting the student body vaccinated, the second drawing will only include students that have not yet sent in copies of their vaccination cards.
“As of the first drawing, 86% of the student body sent their vaccination cards to the Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC),” said Lombardi. “I hope to see a significant increase in the number of vaccinated students. I hope that the program will push us over the 90% threshold.”