Iowa State’s Public Relations Student Society of America will be hosting its annual National Organ Donor Awareness Competition on April 5, 2013.

 The goal of the competition is to spread awareness of the importance of organ donation.

“It is a competition that PRSSA participates in to get the word out about organ donation and the importance of having communication about it,” said Samantha Gerken, senior in advertising and PRSSA president.

This year marks the 18th year of the competition.

PRSSA chapters across the country use their public relations skills through an organized campaign and all-day event.

It is based on how well a team can get the word out about organ donation, said Lindsey Schwarck, senior in journalism and mass communication and PRSSA’s public relations director.

“Our goals are to have a great turnout and really get students engaged. We want them to have a good time, but be able to take away the message that talking to your families is important and it can be fun and it should be a celebration of life,” Schwarck said.

Gerken encourages ISU students to stop by and check out the competition.

“I’m really hoping that we see around 500 or more students stop by,” Gerken said.

“If you are unsure about anything about organ donation and think it’s just a little mark on our drivers license, it’s not. It is really important to fully understand what it means to be an organ donor and making sure your organs go to saving lives when you pass away.”

The day’s events will kick off at 11 a.m. with a birthday party and a theme of celebrating life.

“[The party] is to honor the lives gained from organ donation and remember those lost,” Schwarck said.

“Organ donors are important because, no matter how young or old, they can go on to save someone’s life,” Schwarck said. “You can be a living organ donor and have an impact as well.”

Special guests Tara and Michael Porche will be attending the event. 

The couple lost their daughter Emily in a fatal car accident.

“The little girl donated her organs and tissues to help eight other individuals,” Schwarck said.

The young girl’s organ donations exhibit the impact a that donor can have on others’ lives and how important it is to share with your family what your wishes are.

“It’s so much more than checking yes on your drivers license,” Schwarck said. “It’s important to raise awareness and the need to have discussion because ultimately your family is the final decision unit. They can override whatever is on your driver’s license, so it’s important for you to share with them what your plans are.”

The competition will take place on Central Campus from 11 to 1 p.m. 

The event will include yard games, trivia, a scavenger hunt, a photo booth and cupcakes, as well as chances to win T-shirts and gift cards.

Tom Hill, senior vice president for student affairs, will be speaking to students and the special guests at noon about the competition as well as the importance of organ donation.

“At night, we will be at ISU AfterDark. We will have a photo booth where students can come and take a few photos with friends and have a little keepsake. They can also be part of a scavenger hunt,” Schwarck said. “We will have T-shirt giveaways and drawings as well.”

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