Starting a Campus Initiative: Organ Donation
Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2012
Category: Student Life
Today’s post is by campus correspondent Karyn H., a student at SUNY-Old Westbury. Find out how you can become a campus correspondent, too!
College is a unique time in an individual’s life. Between numerous classes, some individuals work part-time, others participate in community service and several participate in extracurricular activities.
Though we are active in this regard, it has been found that the number of registered organ donors among college-aged students is stagnant. A study conducted by the University at Buffalo found that only 11 percent of students surveyed at two New York State universities had signed an organ donor card or had that portion of their driver’s license checked. Despite this, 80 percent of students desired to learn more about organ donation.
According to Organdonor.gov:
- 114,000 individuals are on organ transplant lists in the United States.
- 18 people die every day waiting for a match in the United States.
- A new person is added to the transplant list every 10 minutes.
- Minorities represent 54 percent of those currently on the organ donation waiting lists.
Organdonor.gov defines organ donation as a surgical procedure in which one or more organs are used for a transplant in another individual. Organ donors can be living or decreased.
Deceased individuals can provide six organ types: kidney, pancreas, liver, lungs, heart and intestines. The deceased can also donate tissues and corneas.
Living donors can donate a kidney, liver portions, a lung or an intestine. In some cases, living donors can also donate eyes and tissues.
Anyone can be a registered organ donor, regardless of age or medical history. At time of death, a health professional determines if an individual is a suitable candidate for organ donation.
What College Students Can Do
So how do we increase the number of registered donors among the college-aged population? One method is to have active student leaders run campus initiatives which can start by simply informing students of this issue.
Many students simply are not aware of this issue. Posters can be hung up throughout your college campus. You can make t-shirts or pins geared toward increasing the number of registered organ donors. On Organdonor.gov, they suggest students having information tables with short pieces of information on pens or cards. Also, street teams can be set up nearby with students distributing information about this topic. In addition, you can promote this cause via school-geared social media (i.e. Twitter or a campus Facebook page).
Are you an organ donor? What can college students do to make their classmates more aware of organ donation?
Karyn H. is a biological sciences and Spanish double major at SUNY-Old Westbury. When she is not studying she enjoys reading, writing and completing community service.