PROVO, Utah — As the Utah Valley sees a spike in cases of COVID-19, Provo city is teaming up with college students in an effort to slow the spread.
The ‘Join the Maskerade’ campaign is an initiative designed by college students to connect with college students.
“I always say, I am not a cool kid. My kids tell me, stop talking to me about masks mom,” said Provo mayor Michelle Kaufusi. “People don’t want to hear me. The students want to hear from their peers.”
The campaign is being led by Brigham Young University’s ‘Y Digital Agency.’
“We think this will speak a very different language to people who have been told, wear a mask or else. We are going to change that. Wear a mask and we’ll reward you,” explained Adam Durfee, with Y Digital Agency.
People will be encouraged to go to the ‘Join the Maskerade’ website and pledge to wear a face covering while in public.
Those who sign the pledge will be entered to win weekly prizes including gift cards and cash.
“Our goal is to see a decline,” Kaufusi said.
To drum up interest in the campaign, Kaufusi and others spent Wednesday evening placing masks on trees and various landmarks around the city.
BYU students who gave their time to participate, hope the message resonates and prevents more drastic measures from being taken in response to the spike in cases.
“As cases increase, we are more careful with our masks because we want to hold on to this little amount of college experience that we have and safeguard it,” said Aubree Smith, a BYU senior.
The impact the campaign has on this community – one that includes a large population of young adults -- won’t be known for several weeks when case numbers will determine its success.
Leaders hope the innovation of students will be the breakthrough that delivers a potentially life-saving message.
“The positivity they have. They are creative. They are constantly looking for the good,” Kaufusi said.