Dean of Students David Strauss announced Wayne State’s Summer Warrior vaccine incentive in a July 22 email to students.
The program aims to increase the number of community members vaccinated against COVID-19, Strauss said.
“To further encourage everyone to get vaccinated, we are announcing an exciting new incentive program,” he said. “Students who upload a photo of their vaccine card by Aug. 29 will be entered into drawings for a variety of prizes, including a grand prize of free tuition.”
President M. Roy Wilson announced WSU’s first vaccine incentive in an April 21 email to students. Students who submitted proof of vaccination by May 7 received $10 in OneCard credits.
The first incentive program, which ran for about two months, was a success, Associate Director of Communications Ted Montgomery said in a Aug. 3 email to The South End. A total of 2,659 students, faculty and staff submitted proof of vaccination.
“We've had a positive response to our recommendations to get vaccinated but we really need to get as close to 100% vaccinated on our campus as we can,” he said. “That's our surest road back to normalcy.”
The second incentive is open to all WSU students, faculty and staff who have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, including those who are already vaccinated, Strauss said.
WSU College Democrats believe the incentive is the best way to ensure a safe campus in the fall, according to a statement from President Quentin Venney.
“The bottom line is that the university must ensure the safety of staff and students and the surrounding community,” Venney said. “Vaccines and masks are currently the only tools we have to prevent an outbreak and minimize the risk to not only the student population but to Midtown as well.”
Participants from the first incentive must resubmit their proof of vaccination in order to be eligible for the second incentive, Strauss said.
The second incentive offers two categories of prizes, one for students and another for faculty and staff, according to the incentive website.
Student prizes include vouchers, a semester of parking, a free semester of tuition and a free semester of on-campus housing. Faculty and staff prizes include gift cards, a 60 inch television, and one year of paid parking.
Since its launch, the response has been positive, according to Montgomery.
“To date 4,304 students, 603 faulty and 1,501 staff have entered,” he said. “We start announcing winners next Monday (Aug. 9).”
Sophomore Jenna Chimenti said that the incentive program makes her more secure about returning to campus this fall.
“I felt like they were trying to make it safer and protect their students and staff as well,” Chimenti said. “I think it's a good motivator for those who haven’t gotten the vaccine yet to get it so we all can return safely.”
The Warrior Summer vaccine incentive closes Aug. 29. More details are available on WSU’s coronavirus website.
Amelia Benavides-Colón is a contributing writer for The South End. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover photo by Quinn Banks, The South End's multimedia editor. He can be reached at email@example.com.