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UWRF Greeks host blood drive

February 14, 2008

On Feb. 5, UW-River Falls students, staff and members of the community descended on the University Center with one purpose in mind: saving lives. For five hours on a Tuesday afternoon, the UC Ballroom was host to a blood drive sponsored by the American Red Cross. By the drive’s end, a total 156 units of blood were collected, surpassing the goals of the organizers.

The drive was hosted by the Greek communities on campus. Sara Gliniany, the Greek coordinator, said she was thoroughly impressed by the turnout of willing donors, 95 percent of whom were students.

“There were more than 175 people who attended to give blood,” she said. “Near the end of the day we had to turn people away.”

Freshman Vic England donated for the first time at the event. He said he felt nervous about the process at first, but was glad he went through with it.

“It was a lot easier than I expected,” he said afterwards while enjoying free snacks in the canteen. “The system seems to work really well.”

Alyse Good is a veteran when it comes to giving blood. Last Tuesday’s event was her fifth time in the donor’s chair. She stressed the importance of repeat donors in blood drives.

“It’s the current donors that are the most helpful,” Good said.

She explained that when a major disaster such as 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina occurs in the U.S., the rush of first-time donors can create a surplus of blood, much of which can’t be used quickly enough.
 
When asked why she continues to donate, Good said it was her way of making a difference.

“It’s something that’s readily available,” She said. “It takes almost no time, no effort, and it’s a good way to help someone.”

Both Good and England said they were impressed with how easy the donation process was.

“I think the convenience of the blood drive plays a factor,” Gliniany said. “It is right on campus and students can schedule appointments from their dorm room and simply stop by between or after classes.”

According to the American Red Cross, blood donations are essential to the practice of medicine.

“If not for the ready availability of blood components, life-saving medical treatments, such as the treatment of serious injuries, organ transplants, bone marrow transplants, complicated surgical procedures and cancer treatment,would not be possible,” the agency said in their Web site. “It is important that all healthy, eligible people donate blood regularly.”

There are four basic steps to the standard donation process. Step one, registration, begins as soon as the donor signs in. Information is then provided to help donors determine their eligibility.

Once they have finished reviewing the materials, a Red Cross representative conducts a confidential assessment of health and travel history. If the potential donor is eligible, a mini physical is conducted that includes readings of blood pressure, pulse and temperature. A small blood sample is also collected to make sure the iron level is high enough.

Step three is the actual donation. According to the Red Cross, this step takes an average of 10 minutes and is relatively painless.

Afterwards, donors are encouraged to spend at least 10-15 minutes in the refreshment area, where they are served snacks and juice to help boost blood sugar and fluids before leaving. Depending on the wait time, the whole process lasts about one hour.

The next University-sponsored blood drive takes place on April 2 and 3 in the UC Ballroom. Students and staff can schedule donation appointments at www.membersforlife.org using the sponsor code 2453.