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SODA Spotlight: SODA at the University of Alabama Gears Up for a Busy, Advocacy-Filled Year

Written by Zoe Engels, Contributing Writer and Editor

To date, our chapters have educated over 40,000 students about organ donation and registered over 2,900 students as organ, eye, and tissue donors. SODA at the University of Alabama—the first university-level chapter in the state—is ready to add to those statistics.

Alison Levine, President of SODA at the University of Alabama, said via email that the team is excited to join the SODA chapter network and make a substantial difference by saving lives and being an active part of their campus community.

“We understand the great need for student-focused education regarding organ, eye, and tissue donation and hope to inspire and help many students to register as organ donors,” Alison shared.

She knows the value of organ, eye, and tissue donation firsthand. When Alison was just thirteen, she received a tissue donation to reconstruct the arches of her feet. Although she never imagined that she would require a transplant of any sort, the experience helped her realize how important it is to raise awareness about donation and transplantation and became a lifelong advocate.

Alison found SODA while searching for an organization to help students bring organ donation advocacy and education to their campuses. Then, she and a group of peers equally passionate about saving lives went through the process of forming their chapter and becoming recognized as an official, college organ donation organization, becoming a chapter in July 2022. They worked and continue to work closely with their local Organ Procurement Organization (OPO), Legacy of Hope, which helped them find a chapter advisor and trained them to become organ, eye, and tissue donation ambassadors over the summer.

For students interested in becoming organ donation advocates and starting a SODA chapter or hosting an event, Alison recommends that people collaborate with peers who share the same passion and utilize the resources available to them to become ambassadors for the cause.

“Become an active part of the SODA community,” she advises students who are interested in starting a chapter. “SODA has ample resources to help you along the way. We have received so much support and encouragement from SODA National and members of other SODA chapters.”

She added, “Your local OPO will have plenty of resources to help you succeed in your shared goal of advocating for organ, eye, and tissue donation.”

Check out some of our organ donation advocacy resources on our Notion page here.

Also over the summer, SODA at the University of Alabama’s Executive Board began planning their education and advocacy events for the 2022-2023 school year. These include registration drives and a week of activities during National Donate Life Month in April. They created an Instagram account to highlight their organ donation advocacy and prepared for their school’s activities fair, known as “Get on Board Day”—a chance for students to learn about the more than 600 student organizations available to them at the university.

Some of the students who came up to SODA at the University of Alabama's "Get on Board Day" table!

They had an incredible turnout. Many students stopped by SODA at the University of Alabama’s table and over 60 filled out the interest form.

Jenna Levy, the Executive Vice President of SODA at the University of Alabama, said she’s looking forward to being involved with a cause that has a large impact on many people’s lives through an organ donation nonprofit.

“I’m excited to be part of the first college-level SODA chapter in Alabama and hope to spread our initiative to the rest of the state,” Jenna said.

Ashley Frye, the Vice President of External Relations of SODA at the University of Alabama, said she is likewise excited to educate her campus community about organ donation, get the student body involved with SODA, inspire others to become lifesavers as donors, and help the chapter reach their advocacy and registration goals for the fall semester.

“We look forward to a year of learning, sharing, and growing as a chapter,” Alison added.

We can’t wait to see all that SODA at the University of Alabama accomplishes along their advocacy journey!

Do you want to host a SODA event or start a SODA chapter? Learn the next steps here.

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