BGSU freshman wins #VaxBGSU grand prize


Anna Fitch – Photo by Andrew Bailey

Andrew Bailey and Andrew Bailey

Two weeks ago, freshman Anna Fitch was planning to pay for four years of college through loans.

Now, her 8 semesters at BGSU are free.

“It still doesn’t feel real. I think I’m still in shock,” she said, a week later.

Fitch got the life-changing phone call while playing Minecraft in her dorm room. Initially, she ignored the unfamiliar number, because if someone really needed her, “they’d call again.”

And need her they did, because there was an Anna Fitch-sized check waiting for her.

At first she was confused why BGSU President Rodney Rogers wanted to talk to her.

“Is this good or bad news that President Rogers wants to talk to me? But as soon as I knew it was good, I figured it was about (#VaxBGSU),” she said. “Really, I thought that I was going to win the free Starbucks for a year.”

The announcement video from BGSU captured Fitch’s real reaction to winning.

“I was physically shaking, nervous, crying. But I was also excited,” she said.

Her prize is worth about $70,000. And with paying for tuition an afterthought, she is now free to fully focus on her undergraduate career.

“It’s allowed me to be more forward-thinking now,” she said.

Fitch came to BGSU undecided in the College of Education and Human Development. She is currently leaning toward the Human Development and Family Studies major and a minor in child life. With this path, she hopes to become a child life specialist.

Coming to BGSU was a foregone conclusion for the Delphos, Ohio native. Less than an hour’s drive from home, she’s able to see her family almost every weekend.

Her family was just as shocked as her.

“I was talking to my mom about (signing up for #VaxBGSU), and she said, ‘might as well.’ I had already gotten my vaccine,” she said.

She had her eye on smaller prizes like the Apple AirPods. But instead of walking around campus with free wireless earbuds, she’s the sole winner of the contest’s grand prize.

Winning hasn’t changed her life that much though. She hasn’t been asked for an autograph, and she still puts effort into her education.

“Now, everyone is like, ‘oh my gosh, you don’t even have to try anymore. But of course I do. I hate getting a bad grade on anything,” she said.

She may be flying under the radar at BGSU, but back home in Delphos, she’s a minor celebrity.

“I went to a home football game recently, and I got a ton of people congratulating me,” she said. “So I was able to get the best of both worlds.”

While Fitch thinks that “people should be allowed to choose what they want to do,” when it comes to getting vaccinated, she said #VaxBGSU was an effective way to increase safety among the student population.

She was already vaccinated when the initiative was announced, so signing up was the logical next step for her.

“I got (the vaccine), my parents did, it was a good idea for us,” she said.

On Aug. 24. 43% of all BGSU students were vaccinated. As of Oct. 6, 62.3% have reported their vaccinations, according to the BGSU COVID-19 Dashboard.

As of Aug. 19, the on-campus student population had a 51.5% vaccination rate. As of Oct. 6, 75.1% have reported their vaccination.