Students donate blood to save lives, receive ice cream

When it comes to giving back to the community, senior Alan Watson hopes his gift can save the lives of others.

The University hopes that hundreds of donors like Watson will give blood at the “Give-a-Pint, Get-a-Pint” blood drive being held this week in the Union Multipurpose Room.

More than 44,000 blood donations are needed every day, according to the American Red Cross, and the University is just one of the nationwide colleges trying to meet the quota for a good cause during April’s blood drive.

The drive is being held Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, the last day to donate, will also be the third day of the Latino Student Union’s National Blood Drive Challenge.

The University is competing against 250 other schools nationally for the Cesar Chavez challenge, said Heather Haynes, coordinator of University blood drives.

Students can also make an appointment to donate this week at the blood drive’s registration table in the Union. Online registration is also available by using the sponsor code “BGSU” at the American Red Cross website.

The University hosts four blood drives during fall and spring semester in September, November, January and April.

“I like putting on blood drives to see the students come out to support such a worthwhile cause,” Haynes said. “Blood is not something that can manufactured in a lab, it has to come from volunteer blood donors.”

The April “Give-a-Pint, Get-a-Pint” blood drive offers donors snacks such as pizza, cookies, chips, water, soda and specific to this month’s drive, a free pint of ice cream courtesy of Toft’s Dairy. The idea for the ice cream-themed name came from someone years ago as a nice incentive for people to donate, Haynes said.

While new donors are encouraged to give blood, past donators must wait eight weeks, or 56 days, from their last donation in order to give blood. The four drives hosted by the University are spaced out accordingly so everyone has a chance to donate.

Jennifer Beckley, a junior, was a volunteer on Monday for the blood drive and gives blood every 56 days. After reading an email sent out to students about needing volunteers, Beckley signed up.

“It’s nice when you’re not eligible to give blood to still give back,” Beckley said.

In addition to helping save lives, students can also receive community service hours by serving donors food at the refreshment tables, walking around assisting students if they need help and greeting students at the door of the Union’s Multipurpose Room.

“For each drive we average about 75-100 volunteers, so around 25 volunteers per day,” Haynes said. “Even if volunteers can give us half an hour, it’s definitely greatly appreciated because we couldn’t do this without volunteers.”

Watson, a member of the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, said he originally came to the event to support one of his friends.

“I thought since I’m here I might as well give blood myself,” Watson said. “It also counts as a service hour for my fraternity so I thought I’d help out.”

As far as encouraging students to donate, Haynes said campus update, flyers and the ever-so noticeable blood drive “Blood Drop” mascot have helped spread the word about the reoccurring drives.

“It’s kind of a neat way for students to see, like, a physical presence instead of just a room or poster,” Haynes said. “If we can get a pretty ambitious person, they usually like to dance because nobody can see who they are so they try dance to get people excited to donate.”

Normally, Watson said he doesn’t donate blood every 56 days but when the events roll around he attends one or two of the four drives. Most of his friends are also donating blood this week.

“If there is an opportunity I would do it, I mean why not,” Watson said. “Now that I know I can do it every 56 days to help someone, I think I might take that chance and do it.”