Reward Program Looks for Students With Completed Symptom Surveys

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Two standing students give gift card to sitting student.
Vivian Nguyen, left, and Meera Khaira are among the Aggie Public Health Ambassadors who will be approaching students to award gift cards for completed Daily Symptom Surveys. (Gregory Urquiaga)

Quick Summary

  • Incentives include gift cards, entry into drawing for larger prize.
  • Plans are for program to continue through end of academic year.
  • Aggie PublicHealth Ambassadors will randomly approach students.

With a smile behind their face coverings, Aggie Public Health Ambassadors are going to be randomly approaching students to ask if they have completed the Daily Symptom Survey.

Students who have will get something more than the survey’s green or purple bar of approval to enter campus buildings. They’ll receive $5 gift cards for the Coffee House, UC Davis Stores or other campus establishments and may be entered in a contest to win a larger prize — like an iPad — at the end of the quarter.

“I think students now more than ever need that feeling of validation,” said Ryan Manriquez, president of the Associated Students of UC Davis. “You’re not just getting a thumbs up to come into the building — you’re getting a prize.”

Idea came from student leaders

Manriquez and Jonathan Minnick, president of the Graduate Student Association, raised a concern at a meeting of the campus’s fall planning work group a few weeks after classes started. They wanted the campus to encourage students to complete the required survey that screens users for COVID-19 symptoms before denying or granting permission to enter university-managed facilities. And they wanted students to have an incentive to do so.

“We really want to make sure students are held accountable and filling it out,” said Manriquez, adding that students themselves appreciate having the symptom survey among the public health measures used on campus.

Closeup of hands holding a Coffee House gift card
The prizes include gift cards for the Coffee House. (Gregory Urquiaga)

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Croughan, who is an epidemiologist, championed the student leaders’ idea for an incentive program and provided budgetary support for prizes through the end of the academic year.

Both Manriquez and Minnick said students have put a lot of effort into complying with public health protocols, including UC’s COVID-19 vaccination policy. According to the UC Davis COVID-19 Dashboard, 99 percent of students have reported being vaccinated.

“This is another one of those goodwill gestures just trying to keep people invested in maintaining public health,” Minnick said. “It encourages people to be even more vigilant.”

Healthy Davis Together, the partnership between UC Davis and the city of Davis, received thousands of media mentions for its creative program to encourage students to forgo spring break travel this year. The program awarded $75 grants totaling $155,475 to 2,073 students.

Fits with ambassadors work

Cory Vu, associate vice chancellor for Health, Wellness and Divisional Resources in Student Affairs, said the new incentive program fits seamlessly with what the Aggie Public Health Ambassadors have been doing since they were deployed a year ago to build awareness about public health protocols on campus and encourage compliance. They have handed out hand sanitizer, face coverings and gift cards.

Currently, there are about 130 ambassadors and 40 more in training. They continue to monitor for approvals from the symptom survey before students enter dining commons and some other buildings. The ambassadors also staff the Aggie Info and Help Line and are out in the community helping with Healthy Davis Together.

Rules and more information about the prizes for the incentive program are accessible through the Daily Symptom Survey page of the Campus Ready website. 

Media Contact

  • Julia Ann Easley, News and Media Relations, jaeasley@ucdavis.edu, 530-219-4545

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