Sydney Britton essay
Raffles and prize-centered games have been the focus of hundreds of thousands of fundraising and team-building activities for various organizations, but most of the time, these raffles are stand-alone activities in addition to another, different activity such as a banquet or concert. A memorable use of raffle tickets that incorporated the raffle into the main activity, rather than using it as a selling point or side activity like usual, was an event that my university, University of Texas Medical Branch, used to welcome new students and promote interprofessional interaction among first-years.
As a welcome gift/event, the Office of Student Life put on a Casino Night, in which various games were set up that allowed students to ‘gamble’ with raffle tickets for as long as they wanted. When students were finished playing, they could place their raffle tickets as they chose in slots for various prizes donated by local businesses.
This event was enormously successful and had several significant outcomes. First, it fostered a camaraderie and sense of teamwork among the students and allowed them to spend an extensive amount of time together doing an interesting activity. The element of competition, without monetary stakes, held students’ attention and helped some who had concerns or anxiety about the upcoming semester to use their last few days of freedom to relax and enjoy themselves, in addition to making new friends and developing a support system for the upcoming semester.
Second, this activity promoted students’ integration into the community of Galveston, Texas. There were several unique prizes, such as surfing lessons and massages, that helped to pique students’ interest in local businesses. Several students expressed their understanding that there was little to do to enjoy themselves in Galveston, and promotion of businesses that offered student discounts and exciting and/or relaxing activities for students to do helped to assure students that they could have an outstanding experience both in and outside of class.
For the University, this event had a third outcome. They branded themselves to the new students with several key characteristics that will forever mark how students think about and associate themselves with UTMB. Rather than a traditional set of welcoming activities, such as school chanting or a football game, UTMB set itself apart as a school for serious careerists and future medical professionals by investing in a sophisticated activity traditionally associated with well-dressed philanthropists raising money to support a cause. In this way, they demonstrated their respect for us as young adults with serious intentions and recognized the sacrifice, planning, and effort it took to earn our undergraduate degrees and gain acceptance into our various programs.
This raffle was not a fundraising event, but it nevertheless accomplished several important goals for the university. In addition, it made for an exciting and memorable event. I feel that other universities, companies, and organizations might benefit from putting on a similar event. Instead of merely using raffles as a singular activity during a larger event, UTMB used their raffle as a tool around which they built the event itself. While raffles are always a fun and entertaining way to connect with the community and accomplish goals for an organization, finding new and creative ways to put on a raffle-based activity can have an even greater impact on attendees and beneficiaries.