The Red Cross comes to Hillsdale College and receives 77 bags of blood in dona­tions. | Pexels

The Inter­fra­ternity Council part­nered with the Red Cross last week to hold a blood drive for Hillsdale College stu­dents.

On Feb. 19, 77 stu­dents gave their time and blood. According to the Red Cross, one donation could poten­tially help more than one person. The drive, however, did not quite meet its goal of 93 bags of blood.

“Some­times, putting a pint of blood into a bag doesn’t feel sat­is­fying or like it makes a dif­ference, but the only reason hos­pitals can operate and save indi­vidual people’s lives every day is because of mil­lions of healthy indi­viduals who donate at drives like we have at Hillsdale,” said sophomore Celina McGowan, who donated blood to the drive. “Ulti­mately, giving blood is a sac­rifice, and we as college stu­dents — in one of the healthiest times of our lives — should make the sac­ri­fices nec­essary to save lives.”

IFC Vice Pres­ident Joe Spamp­inato, a junior and Delta Sigma Phi, said 83 stu­dents vol­un­teered to give blood, but not all of them were able. Some stu­dents who came to give blood were denied after the screening process because of health con­cerns or because they had visited a restricted country within the past year.

Spamp­inato said the flu season was not a major deterrent to dona­tions. A bigger problem, he said, was the “lack of will­ingness to give.”

“Not a lot of people want to take time out of their day to give blood and deal with the drowsiness and weariness afterward,” he said. “People don’t want to get poked with a needle and sit on a table for giving blood. A lot of people actually just haven’t done it, so they’re afraid to go out and try it. Sitting on a table and bleeding for a whole pint seems a little scary.”

Freshman Joey Sarno, a member of Sigma Chi, said he under­stands the hes­i­tation some have when asked to donate blood. Typ­i­cally, though, donating blood is not dan­gerous, he said.

“We’re asking people to give some­thing of them­selves,” he said. “I didn’t like giving blood. I under­stand where people are coming from. It’s a tough thing, but the people that do — it’s really appre­ciated.”

McGowan said donating blood is a little thing she can do to help poten­tially save someone else’s life. With future career plans for nursing, she said this is some­thing often on her mind.

“Giving blood takes about 40 minutes to an hour from start to finish, and I think that Hillsdale stu­dents have so much to do, they don’t feel able to commit that time,” she said in an email. “Time is about pri­or­ities, though, and people who are able to give blood should pri­or­itize donation.”

Her solution, she said, was to read a book while she donated.

Sarno said he thought a good means of increasing donors may be to incen­tivize vol­un­teers.

“Some people do it out of the goodness of their hearts, but some people need that extra push,” he said. “I think if we had some sort of way to incen­tivize them to do that, it would make it a lot better.”

Sarno and Spamp­inato said all four fra­ter­nities sent a large number of vol­un­teers. The drive had at least 20 vol­un­teers from each Greek house, working at the pre-reg­is­tration table in the Grewcock Student Union or helping out at the drive itself.

Sarno said it was good to see the sep­arate Greek houses come together for this cause.

“We are indi­viduals, but it’s good to help out the com­munity at large,” he said.