Ohio State University: Ohio State announces winners of first vaccination prize drawing

“Congratulations again on winning Ohio State’s Vaccination Prize Drawing, and thank you for getting vaccinated.”

That message was part of an email to four grand prize winners this week. The Ohio State University’s Vaccination Prize Drawing is a plan to distribute $50,000 in prizes to students, faculty and staff who have received and reported their COVID-19 vaccination shots. Prizes include gift cards, football season tickets and annual parking permits.

Case Barton, a second-year agribusiness major, was one of the grand prize winners this week. A student at the CFAES Wooster Campus, Barton said he was excited to learn he had won a grand prize and was looking forward to claiming a pair of season football tickets.

“I was pretty ecstatic. I didn’t really expect to win at all,” he said. “I’ve actually never been to an Ohio State football game, and I feel like that would be a lot of fun.”

Barton joins Angela Barnes, a program coordinator with the Department of Patient Education at the Wexner Medical Center; Nick Ramser, assistant director of information technology at the Center for Human Resource Research; and Matthew Doyle, a first-year student in the doctor of veterinary medicine program, as this week’s grand prize winners. Four grand prize winners will be selected each week for the next three weeks.

“I felt wonderful. I had just gotten back from vacation and at the beginning of the workweek, it was a very nice email to read,” Barnes said when she learned she had won.

Barnes said she was choosing the option to receive an “A” parking pass on the university’s Columbus campus. She said it would be nice to not have to pay for parking.

“I’m a huge football fan. I’ve been going to the games ever since I was a student,” Ramser said. “I don’t think I’ve missed the Michigan game since I started going in 2001 or 2002.”

In addition to the grand prizes, two winners won $1,000 gift cards, four won $500 gift cards, eight won $250 gift cards and 20 winners won $100 gift cards this week. These cash prizes will be distributed each week.

Each of the winners said the prizes were great, but the university’s commitment to a safer campus community mattered to them as well.

“We are planning for a robust reactivation of our campuses this fall, and a high vaccination rate will enable the kind of in-person activities that make the Ohio State experience special,” Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson said when she announced the drawing program.

Barton said the goal of having a more normal school year and the ability to continue to learn in person motivated him to get the vaccine. He hopes others will join in for a safer campus community.

“I feel like getting vaccinated is no different than getting your flu shot. It’s something that we are encouraged to do,” he said. “It’s for the greater good of the people that have come before you and will come after you.”

Both Doyle and Ramser said he hopes the drawings will encourage others to get vaccinated and report their status.

“I think getting the vaccination rate as high as possible benefits everyone at the university. So anything they can do to increase the vaccination rate is a good thing,” Ramser said.

Students, faculty and staff can still enter if they haven’t signed up yet. Details about eligibility, terms and conditions are at the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website.

Ohio State is funding the program through the university’s strategic cash reserves. No tuition, donor or tax dollars are being used.