Thursday, April 28, 2016

Commons Campaign: Be A Hero

According to the Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood. The Red Cross is consistently looking for donors due to blood shortages. An average donation is only three pints, while a single car accident victim can require up to one hundred pints. This demonstrates the constant need in the United States for blood donations. The direct exigency that we will be addressing in our project is the lack of donors on UNL’s campus. The Red Cross has determined that 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood at any given time, less than 10% of that eligible population actually do each year. The Red Cross estimates that only twenty percent of their annual donations come from high school and college blood drives. UNL has a significant number of potential donors on campus, yet so few students actually take the time to donate. We would like to show college students why it is important to donate blood and take away the perception of mystery that surrounds donating blood.
Rhetorical Audience:
UNL Students
Constraints and Opportunities:
The biggest constraints we will face will be getting people to actively view the video and changing people’s minds (especially if their reasoning is fear of needles). Our opportunities in this campaign are greater than our constraints, however. Many people are uneducated or undereducated on the benefits, process, and need for blood donation. Many people are unaware that blood is constantly in such high demand. We have the opportunity to call attention to and educate students about this issue, while encouraging them to donate.
Our proposal is fitting because it can be distributed on all social media platforms, where college students often spend a portion of their daily free time. The video will show the importance of donating and why donating is not as bad as it looks, and will debunk any false expectations UNL students have about donating blood. The two biggest reasons the Red Cross cites as reasons for not donating blood is a fear of needles and they had never thought of it. We will be specifically addressing the second reason and making students think differently through utilizing ethos and logos to evoke a feeling of responsibility. We will also attempt to address the fear of needles through explaining the process, though a fear is much harder to overcome.
The goal of our project is to get more UNL students to donate blood in their future. We also hope to educate the community of UNL on what donating blood looks like and what they will experience. We will also educate UNL students on what you can do to be a better candidate for donation.
Inventive/creative approach:
Calling attention to the demand for blood in a relaxed format will allow viewers to become informed about an important issue without feeling pressured. We will humanize the situation by including the testimony of a person who has benefited from a blood transfusion, preferably a UNL student. This will call attention to the proximity of the need for blood, recognizing that a student’s donation could benefit a person sitting next to them in class. In addition to the testimony of a UNL student, we will include doctor insight, as well as insight from someone from a company who frequently works at or hosts blood drives.
        We will produce a video in a documentary format. This will feature the interviews of the UNL student, doctor, and blood drive employee. Shots of the UNL blood drive will be sprinkled between interviews, as well as facts and information, followed by an invitation to participate.
Stylistic elements:
        As previously stated, the video will be produced in a documentary-style format. The facts and information will be presented in an easy to understand format, preferably infographics.
Our video will be memorable because it will be well made and organized. Additionally we will provide incentive to share, creating buzz and conversation around the topic. The unique approach, using the testimony of the UNL student, will humanize the problem in a unique way, which will make the video memorable.

What we did:
In an effort to reach our goals of calling attention to and educating students on blood donation and its high demand we created a video that worked to educate students on the blood donation process and its benefits. We were able to hit close to home by interviewing a current freshman at UNL, Samantha Karr, who received a life-saving blood transfusion last semester. By interviewing Samantha we were able to show students blood transfusions aren’t just needed in car accidents or in the event of an injury. Samantha simply started to feel ill, and found out that the cause of this was internal bleeding. Had she not received a blood transfusion, made possible by blood donors, she would not be on campus learning with us today.
The video also featured a volunteer for Nebraska Community Blood Bank talking about the benefits and ease of blood donation. UNL students were interviewed and given the opportunity to give their opinion and different perspective on the issue.
In addition to creating an informative video, we created infographic elements to be shared across social media platforms. The elements are shown below. They are easy to read, understand, and much more appealing than a block of text.

Evidence of Intervention:
The video was shared on each of our social media accounts, as well as on our class Facebook pages. The infographic elements were shared in conjunction with the video. Viewers were encouraged to share the video, and an opportunity for discussion was opened using the hashtag #BeAHero. Below are screenshots of the posts shared on social media.

As we reflect on our project we see its success, but recognize that there were areas that could have been executed more efficiently. We believe we were successful in creating an interesting video with diverse viewpoints and opinions. The final video is organized, well edited, and welcoming. Our infographic elements were executed well and are easy to read and understand, and we believe they will be helpful in educating students. Each element carries a hashtag encouraging conversation and participation by students.
If we had the chance to go back and complete the campaign all over again, we would change a few things. We would incorporate elements to promote our cause outside of social media. This might include hanging posters around campus, creating table tents, or handing out fliers. While the bulk of our campaign would still be online, we would reach students both in their homes and at school by incorporating these physical elements. We also recognize that the process of producing a video took a bit longer than we anticipated. While we are happy with the end product, we would likely begin production a week or two earlier to reduce stress caused by an approaching deadline. Additionally, we recognize that the testimony of Samantha Karr, who received a blood transfusion, was very powerful. If given another opportunity, we would seek more transfusion receivers and elaborate on their stories.

Looking back, we each learned a lot about blood donation, its constant demand, and what we can do to help. We hope that by implementing this campaign we can create change and encourage students to increasingly donate blood as often as they can.

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