On June 18th, 2021 the LSU Board of Supervisors announced a new plan to encourage students to get vaccinated.
Former LSU President Tom Galligan stated during the board meeting, " We're strongly encouraging our students to get vaccinated by providing incentives. We'll actually roll out a very aggressive incentive campaign next Wednesday (June 23)."
The incentives program allows students to earn a variety of prizes if they show proof of being vaccinated.
The prizes students are eligible to win consist of apple products, LSU apparel and even upgraded tickets for fall sporting events.
Head of the LSU Covid-19 response team, Dr. Keena Arbuthnot has been leading taking charge of the program and believes it has made remarkable progress so far.
" By the end of June were able to get funding to get some prizes and incentives to give away to our faculty, staff and students," Arbuthnot said. " We've had a 19% increase of vaccinations from the day we announced the incentives."
With the incentives program in place, the next step is thinking what else can be done to raise the percentage even higher.
Arbuthnot thinks the next best thing is to take the data gathered from LSU's research team and distribute it to students.
"We have some of the top experts in the field from epidemiology to urology that have worked on these viruses for years," Arbuthnot explained. "I think we should be able to share that information and having some of our researchers who are available to talk about it."
As LSU enters a new era of leadership with President William Tate, Arbuthnot has high hopes that his background in epidemiology can steer LSU even more in the right direction.
Arbuthnot said, " I think as we think through what the fall will look like he'll have a lot of input and his expertise will be invaluable as we move forward through this pandemic."
With the fall semester right around the corner, Arbuthnot and her team continue to run their incentive program.
Although, the ultimate hope they have is that students can take a look at the science for themselves and make the decision to get vaccinated.
"I know that people have choices," she said. " But we're hoping students, faculty and staff will get vaccinated."