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PLU students apply their communication knowledge to a campaign to help relieve medical debt

PLU students apply their communication knowledge to a campaign to help relieve medical debt

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11 PLU communication students stand in front of their classroom and smile for a photo.

Image: PLU students in Professor Amy Young’s ‘COMA 361: Introduction to Strategic Communication’ course. (Photo by Sy Bean/PLU)

November 14, 2023
By Zach Powers
PLU Marketing & Communications

PLU students in Professor Amy Young’s strategic communication class have spent the fall semester working with RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit organization that competes with collections agencies to purchase unpaid medical debt for a fraction of the cost and helps folks run crowdfunding campaigns to settle their medical debt.

For Young, part of the appeal of working with RIP Medical Debt was the work the organization is doing in Washington and nearby states. “They own about 15k of debt in Washington, and significantly more in Idaho and Montana, so we are working to raise money to settle as much of this as possible,” Young says. 

Young’s students worked with a representative from the RIP Medical Debt to design a social media campaign aimed at specific target audiences in an effort to crowdfund $5000. 

“The funding-to-debt ratio is 1:100, so every $100 relieves $10k in debt,” explains Young. “That means this campaign would settle $500,000 in debt.”

Students have designed a landing page and are focusing on marketing the campaign to their community members and neighbors, aiming to motivate gratitude-inspired giving during the Thanksgiving season.

In addition to its fall goal, the students also hope to eventually raise $20,000 and plan a campus event in the spring that celebrates debt relief.  

“I think this is very in line with PLU’s values of care for the community and using your time and talent in service of others,” says Young.