Get vaccinated, ink the president

New university campaign aims to get students vaccinated, president tattooed

Published by , Date: October 5, 2021

Looking to get more students vaccinated against COVID-19, Slippery Rock University (SRU) President William Behre is offering to let the campus community design a tattoo for him if vaccination rates increase.

The vaccination campaign, “Rock the Shot, Ink the President,” aims to offer incentives to undergraduate students who upload their proof of vaccination to the student health portal. If the student vaccination rate reaches 75% by Dec. 3, Behre will get an SRU-themed tattoo, the university announced in a Monday morning email to campus stakeholders.

“While I have to admit that getting a tattoo hasn’t exactly been a lifelong desire of mine, it would be a memorable – and permanent – way of making clear just how important I think it is for our students to get fully vaccinated,” Behre said in email statement. “If getting a tattoo needle in my arm will inspire others to get a vaccine needle in theirs, then it would be well worth it.”

The university will hold a contest to gather tattoo designs from students, faculty and staff with Behre choosing which design to ink his body with from the pool.

“Since it’s going to be on my body forever, I should at least have a say in the design, right?” Behre said.

The university will begin promoting the campaign and tattoo design contest on Monday with posters and other materials around campus. Along with inking the president, students will be eligible for other prizes if the vaccination rates reach different milestones by next month.

Five students will be selected to have their own assigned parking spot, in a lot of their choosing, for the spring 2022 semester if student vaccination rates reach 65% by Nov. 1.

If 70% of the student population uploads their vaccination record by Nov. 17, SRU will hold a drawing to select one student to win free tuition for the spring 2022 semester.

All undergraduate students with an uploaded vaccination record showing proof of the final dose of their vaccine will be automatically entered into their drawing. All students who have previously uploaded their COVID-19 vaccination record are eligible as well.

According to Kris Benkeser, director of student health and wellness, over 3,700 students have uploaded proof of their COVID-19 vaccination or 51% of students attending classes in-person. As part of Healthfest, the university will host another COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Oct. 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Aebersold Student Recreation Center (ARC).

“The best way to remain in good health is to get vaccinated,” said Behre. “I cannot require our students to get vaccinated, but I can certainly urge everyone to do so.

“With ‘Rock the Shot, Ink the President,’ I think we can have some fun and raise awareness while helping to protect those on our campus and in the surrounding communities by increasing our student vaccination rate.”

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Joe is a senior communication major with concentrations in converged journalism and digital media production. This is his second year with The Rocket and first as the news editor. With a penchant for asking tough questions, his byline can be found on more than 100 articles for The Rocket including many breaking news and investigative pieces. During the hours he’s not wearing the hat of student journalist, he spends his time as a husband, father and dog owner in Slippery Rock.


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