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.