SRU incentivizes students to get COVID-19 vaccine with free parking, tuition and presidential tattoo


Rock the Shot logo

Oct. 5, 2021

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University President William Behre is passionate about keeping the SRU community safe and healthy in the best of times. But during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Behre is prepared to literally roll up his sleeve to show just how committed he is to the well-being of SRU students.

Behre announced today, Oct. 5, the launch of a new campuswide campaign, "Rock the Shot, Ink the President" in an effort to encourage vaccination rates among SRU students in order to keep the University as virus free as it can be. The campaign will include various prize drawings for undergraduate students based on increasing campus COVID-19 vaccination rates and could potentially culminate with Behre receiving an SRU-themed tattoo if the student vaccination rate reaches 75% by Dec. 3.

"While I have to admit that getting a tattoo hasn't exactly been a lifelong desire of mine, it would be a memorable - and permanent - way of making clear just how important I think it is for our students to get fully vaccinated," said Behre. "If getting a tattoo needle in my arm will inspire others to get a vaccine needle in theirs, then it would be well worth it."

President Behre


To stoke further interest, the tattoo design will be selected after a campuswide contest that encourages students, faculty and staff to submit designs. Behre will select the final design from all those submitted. "Since it's going to be on my body forever, I should at least have a say in the design, right?," Behre said with a laugh.

Behre believes he would be the first college president in the U.S. to demonstrate such a commitment to increasing campus vaccination rates by offering to get a tattoo.

"Schools across the country are offering all kinds of incentive programs to get students vaccinated, but how many presidents are putting their arms on the line?," Behre said with a smile.

Posters and other materials promoting the campaign, as well as the tattoo design contest, will begin appearing on campus today.

While inking the president would be the campaign's most visible and longest-lasting prize, it is certainly not the only one on the line if various student vaccination rate goals are achieved:

  • If SRU's student vaccination rate reaches 65% by Nov. 1, the school will stage a drawing that will award five students with assigned parking spots - in a lot of the students choosing - for the spring 2022 semester.
  • Should the student vaccination rate reach 70% by Nov. 17, the University will host a drawing for one student to win free tuition for the spring 2022 semester.

All SRU undergraduate students who submit proof of the final recommended dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to the University's Student Health Portal will automatically be entered into the vaccination prize drawings. Those who have already uploaded their proof of vaccination prior to today's announcement are already eligible.

"The best way to remain in good health is to get vaccinated," said Behre. "I cannot require our students to get vaccinated, but I can certainly urge everyone to do so. With 'Rock the Shot, Ink the President,' I think we can have some fun and raise awareness while helping to protect those on our campus and in the surrounding communities by increasing our student vaccination rate."

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