During the month of March, West Chester University gave back to the community by celebrating American Red Cross month. Throughout the past couple of weeks, there were a series of blood drives located in almost all of the residence halls for students to participate in including the Village and South Campus. These blood drives have been going for a number of years and are continuously successful on West Chester’s campus. Residence Life, along with the local chapter of the Red Cross, hosts these drives once every semester. Usually spanning mid-September until late October during fall semester, and annually every March in the spring semester.
In order to get involved and donate blood, one must meet a certain set of requirements determined by the Red Cross. To donate you must be no younger than 17 years of age and weigh no less than 110 pounds. The organization’s website also suggests waiting to donate blood if one has a severe cold or the flu. Students who recently got tattoos need to wait a full year to donate.
The Red Cross Web Site also said that the donation of 1 unit of blood, which is the equivalent of one pint, saves three lives. Blood that is donated to the Red Cross is used to help a variety of patients from accident victims to people effected with leukemia. According to another statistic provided by the Red Cross, only five percent of the eligible population donates blood in a given year. Healthy donors are the only source of blood. Currently there is no substitute.
Thankfully, a great deal of students on the WCU campus donate blood in the 2 drive periods throughout the academic year, usually more in the fall more than the spring. According Peter Galloway from Residence Life, in the Fall 2008 semester, 328 pints of blood were collected which is a nine percent increase from Fall 2007.
“There is always a need for blood and if we get students in the mindset they will continue to donate,” Galloway said.
“I think it is important for students because this is their opportunity and they might not get the chance as adults,” added Ashley Elliot, the Resident Director of Killinger Hall. Killinger had their blood drive last Monday and collected 21 units of blood. Residence Life employees were not the only people excited to give back, students were equally eager to help. When asked why she donated blood, sophomore student Jess S. said, “I have O positive which is the universal donor and it saves lives.”
If one still wants to get involved in donating blood there is one more opportunity in Sanderson Hall on Monday March 30th. However, if a student is ineligible or frightened of giving blood they can still get involved by donating their time and money to this worthy cause. People can donate money either through the mail, telephone or internet. Check out www.redcross.org to donate or find out new and exciting ways to get involved and give back.
Sam Greenberg is a second-year student majoring in English. She can be reached at SG655862@wcupa.edu.