ANN ARBOR — College rivalries aren’t limited to athletics. For the past five weeks, 12 Michigan colleges and universities used their school pride to save lives by signing people up to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.
Through their involvement in the 13th annual Gift of Life Michigan Campus Challenge, students encouraged classmates, alumni, faculty and others to sign up as organ, tissue and eye donors. They added 1,570 new names to the Donor Registry, and two schools came out on top.
For the fifth consecutive year, Wayne State University added more names than any other school, with 504. That’s the longest winning streak in the event’s history, beating Michigan State University’s four consecutive wins from 2006-2009.
The Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine joined the Campus Challenge for the first time this year, and students enthusiastically staffed donor registration tables in the community to expand their reach. They recruited the most donor registrants compared with student population with a score of 127 percent.
The success of the Campus Challenge provides hope for the 3,558 Michigan residents waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, and tens of thousands more in need of tissue and cornea transplants.
During the Campus Challenge, students hosted sign-up tables on campus, gave presentations to classmates and encouraged peers through social media posts. Alumni, faculty and other supporters also joined the donor registry to score a point for their school.
The Gift of Life Michigan Campus Challenge is the largest college-based organ donor drive in the nation and has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for its success. In its 13 year history, the Campus Challenge has resulted in more than 38,000 people adding their names to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.
More than 54 percent of adults in Michigan have already joined the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. Joining the Donor Registry takes less than a minute at giftoflifemichigan.org. Residents can also join by calling Gift of Life at 866-500-5801 or visiting any Secretary of State office.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A list of participating schools and their final scores (in a bar graph format) is available at giftoflifemichigan.org/campuschallenge or by contacting Gift of Life Michigan at 866-500-5801.