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Celebrating Our Extraordinary Advocates: SODA’s 2023 Award Winners!

Written by Sophia Renner, Student Engagement Coordinator

With the conclusion of another school year filled with life-saving advocacy efforts, SODA National is thrilled to acknowledge and celebrate the remarkable achievements of our 2023 award winners. 🏆🎉

These outstanding individuals and chapters have played a vital role in inspiring organ, eye, and tissue donation within their schools and broader communities. From organizing registration drives to hosting educational events, these advocates have demonstrated a profound understanding of the significance of organ donation and have gone above and beyond to raise awareness.

Let's take a moment to congratulate these advocates for their extraordinary efforts and continue supporting them as they lead the way toward a future where individuals in need of organ transplants can find hope and healing. Together, we can make a profound difference and save lives!

Want the inside scoop on our chapters before we announce next year’s awards? Follow us on Instagram to keep up!

Most People Educated: SODA at the University of Alabama

Between the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 semesters, SODA at the University of Alabama educated over 10,500 people about organ, eye, and tissue donation. According to Chapter President Alison Levine, their most inspirational event was when they invited an ambassador from Legacy of Hope, their local OPO, to speak at their school's BAMAthon Dance Marathon, which was attended by over 1,200 people. 🤩

Check out the University of Alabama’s SODA Spotlight: SODA at the University of Alabama Gears Up for a Busy, Advocacy-Filled Year.

Most People Registered: SODA at the University of Nevada, Reno

Between the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 semesters, SODA at the University of Nevada, Reno registered over 700 new organ, eye, and tissue donors. They achieved this life-saving impact through events like Donuts and Donors and Pizza and Perspectives, which incentivize new donors with tasty treats! 🍕🍩

Most Impactful Registration Event: SODA at Martinsville High School

The SODA chapter at Martinsville High School showcased their creativity and dedication by creating a homemade, life-size Operation board game for their school's annual Dance Marathon. This memorable and engaging activity inspired their peers and increased the organ donor registry.

Most Impactful Education Event: SODA at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

In collaboration with their school's administration, SODA at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine hosted the Colby Cassani Endowed Lectureship, a series that educates aspiring medical professionals about organ donation and fosters compassion towards patients and their families. Chapter President Skotti Torrence expressed admiration for Mrs. Cassani's ability to share a deeply emotional and inspiring story and transform it into a remarkable program honoring her son.

Most Impactful Media Feature: SODA at Whitko Career Academy

SODA at Whitko Career Academy organized an organ donation rally, which featured a double-lung transplant recipient and a donor family member. This event along with their Donate Life flag-raising ceremony was featured in a Fox 55 Fort Wayne news broadcast. We are so proud of them for sharing this life-saving event with their broader community!

Best Donate Life Month Event: SODA at George Mason University

This year's national Donate Life Month theme, "Make a Splash for Donate Life Month," inspired SODA at George Mason University to organize a TOADally awesome event. 🐸 They facilitated an opportunity for their peers to learn about organ donation while painting pond rocks, strategically placing them around the campus to initiate conversations and raise awareness about organ donation.

Best OPO Collaboration: SODA at Chelsea High School & Legacy of Hope

SODA at Chelsea High School and Legacy of Hope teamed up at the 2023 Alabama HOSA State Leadership Conference to encourage 31 other HOSA chapters to advocate for organ donation on their campuses. 🤝 Legacy of Hope officials, Dr. LaToya Bishop and Jarryd Keene, joined SODA student leaders at the vendor fair to educate hundreds of attendees about the importance of organ donation.

Learn more about how our OPOs and chapters work together here.

Best Donation Collaboration: SODA at Northeastern University

Northeastern University co-hosted a blood drive with the Kraft Family Blood Donor Center. Chapter President Riya Dahima says their chapter enjoys collaborating with other organizations in the Boston community to increase awareness for organ, eye, and tissue donation!

Most Promising New Chapter: SODA at the University of Alabama at Birmingham

SODA at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, established just four months ago, has already educated over 425 individuals about organ donation and successfully registered 34 new donors. In an impressive display of their passion, they kicked off their official chapter status by partnering with SODA at the University of Alabama for a registration drive competition. Their inspiring initiative leaves us eagerly anticipating what they will achieve in the coming year. Keep up the amazing work!

SODA Chapter MVP: Alison Levine

Alison Levine was nominated by a fellow chapter leader who says, “Alison has gone above and beyond to start this organization on campus. She is already in so many clubs and educational events yet has still put her all into SODA. She has always been someone anyone can go to for help. Alison has put her heart and soul into the UA soda chapter and has been an amazing leader.” Alison, thank you for your unwavering commitment to this life-saving cause!

SODA Advisor MVP: Mrs. Andrea Maddox

Andrea Maddox was nominated by a Chelsea High School SODA chapter leader who says, “Mrs. Maddox is the driving force behind SODA at Chelsea High School. She utilizes her expertise and leverages her connections from her previous career as an abdominal organ transplant team leader and as a current Health Science teacher/HOSA Advisor to help our SODA chapter reach students both within our community and throughout our state. She has helped our chapter grow tremendously over the past two years, and she hopes other schools are inspired to start their own SODA chapters and spread the message to ‘Donate Life.’” Thank you Andrea for supporting student-led organ donation advocacy!

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