BY WIL CREWS SPORTSCREWS@OPELIKAOBSERVER.COM
With COVID-19 cases rising throughout the state of Alabama, the impending return of students to college campuses in the fall poses risk.
Colleges in almost every other state require COVID-19 vaccinations in some form for students returning for the 2021-22 academic school year. But, rather than force the vaccine on its student body, Auburn University is taking a different approach.
The university announced Monday that it will be offering an incentive-based program to encourage its students to get the vaccine.
“To emphasize the importance of vaccines to a successful fall semester, Auburn University is hosting a vaccination incentive program for fully vaccinated students enrolled for the fall semester 2021,” reads the auburn.edu website. “Fully vaccinated is defined as having received two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”
According to the website (www.auburn.edu/covid-resource-center/vaccine-incentive/), prizes will be awarded to individuals and students organizations. When registering for the incentive program students may list up to five campus organizations of which they are a member.
Individual prizes include: upgrade to A-zone parking pass for the semester; upgrade to an unlimited meal plan; 25 meal swipes for Central Dining or Tiger Zone; Campus Rec Group Fitness semester pass; weekending camping package for two (includes a two-person tent, two sleeping bags with pads, one backpack, one burner stove and cook set); weekender water sports package for two (two SUPs or kayaks, two PFD’s, two paddles); $1,000 scholarship; priority class registration; lunch for four with President Gogue; and VIP graduation parking pass and free regalia.
Student organization prizes include: free Student Center Ballroom reservation; free Student Act Ballroom reservation; custom organization Under Armour apparel; custom organization sweatshirts/hoodies; custom organization Yeti cups; custom organization Yeti coolers; free food truck meal for organization; free spray tans for organization; catered meals; and Samford Hall Clock Tour tour.
The press release went on to say that student affairs will randomly select winners throughout the fall semester, and that winners will be contacted via email and be asked to submit a copy of their vaccine card to prove eligibility. Furthermore, student organizations must have members of the organization present proof of vaccination to receive their prize, too.
Students who are participating in dual enrollment programs or who are also benefit-eligible employees of Auburn University are not eligible to participate, according to the website.
Lastly, the website said, to claim prizes, students must present vaccination within seven days from the date the winning email is sent. Some individual prizes, such as the $1,000 scholarship, may affect the winning student’s financial aid award package. Students who receive university scholarships, grants and/or federal financial aid should consult with Student Financial Services to assess the impact the prize may have on any existing financial award packages. Prizes are non-transferable and may be subject to certain date restrictions. As part of the entering the program, students are agreeing to let Auburn University publicize their prize.