The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is launching an incentive program to reward students who have taken the COVID-19 vaccine, and inspire those who haven’t. 

Dr. Joseph Savoie, UL president, announced the program — "Don't Wait. Vaccinate!" — Wednesday to students, faculty and staff members. Fully vaccinated students are eligible to win one of 10 prizes in a series of drawings that begin Aug. 6, and continue through early October. 

"If you haven't been vaccinated, we hope the University's incentives program encourages you to protect yourself and others," Savoie said in the announcement. 

Several students on campus Wednesday seemed to like the idea of vaccination incentives.

“It shows that they care about the students to try to give us incentives to protect ourselves and others around us. I think it’s a really good idea,” said senior Zion Williams.

“I think if it leads us closer to a sense of normality then I mean I’m all for it,” sophomore Joshua Trahan said.

Senior Grace Young is already vaccinated, but she likes the reward aspect of the program. “I know I would love to win some stuff ... I might as well just enter,” she said.

Jairus Martin, a senior, is still on the fence, and he's not sure how influential the incentives might be with other students like him.

“For me personally, I’m still indifferent on whether I want to get vaccinated… so to have the extra incentive for people to get vaccinated, it can come off as ‘do this in return for this,’ or bribery,” he said.

UL is one of eight Louisiana colleges and universities that has joined the COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge, according to Dr. Margarita Perez, dean of students. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and the White House, the program encourages colleges and universities to launch efforts that increase vaccination rates among members of their campus communities.

"Vaccines are critical to returning campus life to a pre-pandemic normal. Our ‘Don’t Wait. Vaccinate!’ program is about engaging and motivating students to do their part to help bring the pandemic to an end and keep our campus safe," Perez said. 

To participate, students must meet the following requirements: 

  • have received the Johnson & Johnson one-dose COVID-19 vaccine or two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines before the date of the drawing;
  • provide proof of vaccination if they received the vaccine outside the state of Louisiana;
  • be registered for classes for the Fall 2021 semester; and
  • register for the contest via the entry form

Students who were vaccinated in another state or country will need to upload proof of vaccination to the Student Health Services patient portal.

The "Don't Wait. Vaccinate!" incentives program is funded by the Wellness Center Fund at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Foundation.

Two winners will be chosen on each of the following Tuesdays. Prizes for each drawing are:

  • Aug. 10: Two winners will get free parking in the Girard Park Parking Tower and an Apple Watch Series 6
  • Aug. 24: Two winners will get $300 to use at dining facilities on campus and a UL prize pack
  • Sept. 7: Two winners will receive an Oculus Quest w/ 128 GB
  • Sept. 21: Two winners will receive an iPhone 12
  • Oct. 5: Two winners will receive a Macbook Air

Email Hana Maung at hmaung@theadvocate.com