GVSU organizations partner with Michigan Blood to hold campus blood drive

By Theresa Mueller | 9/24/17 9:34pm

GVL / Luke Holmes - Erica helps get a student ready to draw blood. The blood drive was held by the American Red Cross in the Grand River Room Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2016

By merely setting aside an hour out of the day, Grand Valley State University students have the potential to save three lives by donating blood to the Michigan Blood bus drive.

The demand for blood donations is always high, and as a contribution to the consistent demand for blood donations, the GVSU community has teamed up with Michigan Blood and the American Red Cross to host various blood drives throughout the academic year. 

GVSU will be hosting its second blood drive of the 2017-18 academic year from Tuesday, Sept. 26, to Friday, Sept. 29. Times and locations vary each day. 

This week’s blood drive is a collaborative effort between GVSU’s Pre-Pharmacy Club, the Community Service Learning Center and Michigan Blood, with additional assistance from the Pre-Med Club and Pre-Veterinary Club.

Michigan Blood is the primary supplier for 60 hospitals in the state of Michigan. To accommodate the need of various hospitals in the state, Michigan Blood needs to accumulate more than 560 units of blood each day. So, the organization travels beyond the walls of hospitals to obtain the necessary amount of blood donations.

Michigan Blood finds effectiveness in mobile blood drives, which are responsible for acquiring 70 percent of Michigan Blood’s supply. An additional 25 percent of blood donations come from blood drives at high schools and/or colleges.

At GVSU, student organizations take an active role in sponsoring blood drives. These student organizations hold a critical role in reaching out to students and educating them on how they can donate. 

Cortney Cathey, secretary of GVSU's Pre-Pharmacy Club, said the club members initiate their role by tabling the week prior to the blood drive, as well as the week during, to gain potential donors. They also send emails and make various phone calls.

“The best way to get students to donate is by word of mouth,” Cathey said.

The intent of student-organization sponsorship is that the information they provide will spread by students relaying information to their friends, hopefully accumulating more donors.

Besides the large sum of students, Amy Rotter, Michigan Blood community outreach and partner relations coordinator, said one reason for holding blood drives on campus is because of the convenience it creates for students, a factor that makes them more likely to donate. 

“(Campus blood drives) make us more accessible, and students can either make an appointment ahead of time or just walk in,” Rotter said.

There is paperwork that needs to be filled out prior to giving blood, and the process for donating takes approximately an hour. This includes a health screening, the blood draw, and waiting about 15 minutes afterward for monitoring and replenishing with snacks. 

“The main reason people don’t give blood is because they’re not asked,” said Liz Collver, assistant director of Student Life. “But if we all gave blood once a year, we could have such an impact.”

As a campus, GVSU was able to accumulate 647 units of blood during the 2016-17 academic year. The amount of donors during each drive is often dependent on the student organization. Each day, there are 25 to 30 time slots available for donors. The goal for Michigan Blood and the Pre-Pharmacy Club is to get at least 15 donors per day. 

“Donating blood is truly a way to save lives,” Rotter said. 

For more information on times and locations, visit www.gvsu.edu/events/michigan-blood-bus-blood-drive-2/.

For more information on blood donation guidelines, visit www.miblood.org/donating-blood/.

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