Mississippi State raffling off prizes to vaccinated students ranging from free food to $9K in tuition to limit spread of COVID-19

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Since July 12th, Mississippi State’s Office of Student Affairs has held a prize raffle for current and incoming students who are fully vaccinated.

A lot of times people think, as college students, we’re younger and healthier,” says MSU senior Tyler Dickerson. “But as we’ve seen recently, this virus doesn’t play around with younger people, especially with the Delta Variant.”

Even before the spring semester ended, the school was trying to find a way to encourage students to get the COVID-19 vaccine before coming back to school.

“We had done some work to get feedback from (students) about what kinds of incentives they would be interested in,” says Dr. Regina Hyatt, the Vice President of Student Affairs.

Dickerson was one of those students. His first thought?

“We all like to eat and we all like to have food,” he said. “We have flex dollars which are on campus, basically a credit card system where we can go to our (student) union or any of our on-campus dining locations to get food.”

$100 worth of those dining points became the first raffle prize.

The next prize was $250 gift cards for the campus book store. A new prize is selected each Monday and the drawings happen Friday. Future prizes include tickets to State games and two $9,000 scholarships.

“Tuition drawings which will be valued at $9,000,” Dr. Hyatt says. “We have two of those prizes that we’ll be doing later in August.”

Since the raffle started, Dr. Hyatt says their student vaccination records have tripled.

“I was really excited to find out (about the program),” says freshman Lydia Walsh. “Because one, I feel safer having (taken) the vaccine and two, I get all these awesome perks.”

Walsh says the program also shows her how much MSU values the safety of its students.

“We don’t want to be in a situation where students are having to be in and out of class because they have COVID or because they’re exposed to COVID,” Dr. Hyatt says. “And we certainly don’t want students and our employees to get sick. And we know that vaccinations work.”

State will also be offering 15 vaccine popup clinics from August 8 to September 8.

“We had a really normal experience in Omaha and that was a great time,” Dickerson says. “We don’t want to get to the fall and football season and then have another 10 percent capacity (season) in Davis Wade Stadium this year.”

To enter, students need to go to MSU’s COVID vaccine website and upload a picture of their vaccination card as well as when and where they received their shots.

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