On Feb. 18, Mercyhurst students were able to partake in a unique event. Sophomore Ava D’Amato and her classmates in their sports promotion and marketing class worked on this event for most of the spring semester. “We are trying to pro-mote COVID-19 safety and the vaccine while offering a fun, free night for college students,” D’Amato previously said. D’Amato has been working with the Erie Otters and created an event which allowed vaccinated students to attend the game for free with proof of vaccination and a student ID. The game was against the Hamilton Bulldogs. D’Amato was able to use her connections with the athletic department and obtain an athletic bus for the evening. Andy Simon-Wambach, assistant athletic director, was even able to help them find a driver for the bus.
The event offered free transportation, a free tailgate beforehand, and the drink specialty of the night for those who are over 21, $2 Bud Lights. D’Amato also wanted to ex-tend this unique opportunity to other colleges in the area, so she reached out to students from Edinboro, Gannon and Penn State Behrend to spread the word. “The process of getting this event to actually happen was relatively tricky. Mainly because we were opening up the event to surrounding colleges, so finding the people of con-tact and explaining the event to them was very exciting for me because I am able to get my name, and our mission out into the community,” said D’Amato.
The Sports Promotion and Marketing class is taught by William Jeffress. D’Amato said that the original idea was Jeffress’ and he thought it would be the perfect project for the students in that class to get real-world experience. “He gave people in my class an opportunity of getting re-al-life experience of putting together, promoting and executing an event,” said D’Amato. Students who are unvaccinated were still invited to attend, and just had to pay $10 for their ticket.
The game sadly resulted in a loss for the Erie Otters with a final score of 6-3. The players who scored the goals for the Otters were Brett Bressette, who had two goals and Noah Sedore, who had the final goal. At halftime, people were invited to come down on the ice and play games. Though the game did not end in a win for the Otters, it was still a lot of fun for students.
“The event turned out really well,” D’Amato said. “We had a lot of students from Mercyhurst but also from the surrounding colleges. It was very nice seeing how our Erie community could come together! We had free shirts for our ‘Don’t hesitate, vaccinate’ campaign that were gone within the first 30 minutes of being there!”
The event had a great turn-out and was a massive success, thanks to the hard work and planning of D’Amato and her classmates. Their approach to promoting COVID-19 vaccinations was both engaging and fun for all students.