Missouri State University Advertising students are always looking for opportunities to take their education beyond the classroom and into the community. With the support and encouragement of the MSU College of Business Administration and the Marketing Department, this semester has been no exception. Advertising classes have taken on an important public service project that has become quite the experience. Under the instruction of Dr. Melissa Burnett, Professor of Marketing and Director of the Advertising program at MSU, the advertising students have formed a partnership with St. John’s Health System, in an effort to spread awareness of organ donation and to increase the number of organ donors in the state of Missouri.
“The students are learning about the critical challenges facing healthcare. Today, there are more than 110,000 in need of transplants and all of these people and their families are waiting for that one phone call that will give them a second chance. Our goal is to share their stories and make that wait much shorter,” Dr. Burnett said. Students have also been working closely with Mid-America Transplant Services who manages the organ donor list and will be adding the resulting signatures from the project to the registry. “This project has given me the opportunity to expand my education in ways I did not even consider before and has given me experience that could never be taught in a classroom,” says student Mandy Kisker.
This project has given students the opportunity to put advertising into practice and also help raise awareness about a cause that can save lives. The project has been named the x-50 Project and stands for the fact that a single donor can save or improve the lives of 50 other individuals. Students have been hosting several events on the Missouri State campus and in the community to gain awareness of organ donation and give people the opportunity to actually sign to become an organ donor. The students have already gathered over 500 organ donor signatures and hope to triple that number by the end of the campaign on December 6.
St. John’s Hospital neurotrauma intensive care unit nursing director Kurt Abbey is on the front line facing families who have the decision regarding organ donation.
“It’s very admirable the families who make the decision in the middle of an often sudden crisis and in the midst of their grief of losing a loved one,” he explained. “When individuals have consented to donation, by placing themselves on the donor registry, families are comforted by the fact that their loved ones wishes are being honored.”
Student Stephen Owen has been impressed with the impact the project has had on Missouri State students. “The response we have seen so far has been outstanding and we are excited to see what the rest of the semester will bring. Many students have taken time out of their busy schedules to learn about the project and sign to be an organ donor,” he said.
To learn more about how these advertising students are impacting our community and to find information about upcoming events check out the x-50 Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/X-50-Project/148235088556031. If you are interested in becoming an organ donor, log on to missouriorgandonor.com and click “Sign Me Up Today”. To support the advertising students and the x-50 Project, select the MSU drive as how you learned about becoming an organ donor.