Hillsdale College’s blood drives have underperformed in recent years, hardly bringing in enough donors to justify the American Red Cross’ visit. A new initiative from Delta Tau Delta and Chi Omega is looking to change that.
The campaign is the brainchild of DTD Vice President senior James Young, who said he is hoping to harness Hillsdale’s competitive spirit to drive up donations. Beginning with the blood drive on April 28, dorms, Greek houses, and sports teams will be scored based on their total participation in the drive. The most successful organization will take home a trophy, which the organizers have named “The Giving Goblet.”
“People on Hillsdale’s campus are very generous; that’s just kind of who we are,” Young said. “What we’re trying to do for this blood drive and for every single blood drive going forward is to make it a competition, not only trying to instill pride in individuals on Hillsdale’s campus but capturing people’s pride in their organization.”
Young first became interested in the issue, after speaking with a Red Cross employee when donating blood during the drive in February.
“She expressed to me that she was really disappointed with the levels of donations that were coming from Hillsdale,” Young said. “The most recent blood drive netted 86 units of blood; the largest donation ever from Hillsdale College was 106 units of blood. And the Red Cross estimates that in order for it to be worth it for them to come here, they need to be averaging between 100 and 110 units of blood every single blood drive. When I heard that, I thought, ‘I’m taking over this event.’”
Student dorms and Greek houses have taken turns coordinating blood drives with the Red Cross for years with mixed results. Simpson Head Resident Assistant senior Hank Prim said the semester’s first blood drive was hampered by scheduling issues and a conflict with a prospective student visit day.
“The No. 1 most important responsibility is just bringing in the donors; the marketing has to be huge,” said Associate Dean of Men Jeffrey Rogers, who coordinates the drives with student organizations. “If the students aren’t excited about it, they won’t show up; they won’t tell their friends.”
Even though student volunteers take care of much of the preparatory efforts for Hillsdale’s blood drives, the events still represent a large allocation of resources from the Red Cross, Rogers said.
“There’s a lot of resources expended,” Rogers said. “There’s all the staff that has to be paid; there’s all the set-up and preparation, so if they come here and they bring all that stuff and they only get like 20 units, it’s not a good drive. We want over 100 units every time.”
Young is more optimistic: He said he hopes by encouraging competition, the Giving Goblet will drive as many as 200 people to give on April 28.
“Two hundred units would only be 14 percent of the campus,” Young said.
Young and Rogers have also talked about ways to get other groups of students involved.
“A lot of times coaches aren’t so keen on having their athletes give blood, because it weakens them for a little bit,” Young said. “But something that Chief and I have been talking about is trying to encourage the coaches to encourage the athletes to help.”
In the end, all that matters is getting people to become donors.
“It’s a pain for everyone involved,” Prim said, “but at the end of the day, we all have 30 minutes we can give of ourselves to help a beneficial cause.”