25th annual Homecoming Blood Drive meets goal

The drive collected 4,217 units of blood.
Junior Heidi Hadler helps junior Kelsey Hinds get through the last steps of donating blood while collection staff member Sherry Harris finishes up during the Homecoming Blood Drive at the Hearnes Center on Monday. The blood drive ended at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The largest student blood drive in the country surpassed its own expectations Thursday night as the final number of collected units of blood was announced. With an original goal of 4,000 units, MU and the American Red Cross ended the 25th annual Homecoming Blood Drive with a total of 4,217 units to put in the bank.

Each unit of blood can be used to save up to three lives, amounting to around 12,000 possible lives saved, an American Red Cross news release stated. Based on the final tally, MU's actual number of possible lives saved was even higher.

Other blood drives will also be happening around the region in different satellite locations, Homecoming Blood Drive Committee member Deli Shirazian said. Some of these locations include Kansas City, Saint Louis, Chicago and Springfield.

“In 1985, the American Red Cross collected 1,600 units of blood over a period of time,” Red Cross Representative Lane Scholz said. “We have grown over the years.”

Shirazian attributed part of the growth to an increase in non-Greek involvement. Non-Greek students and members of the community were able to schedule appointments at a table at the new student center. Walk-in appointments were also accommodated, a policy different than that of years past.

“The major difference between this year’s blood drive and previous years’ is that there is no deferral day,” she said. “There are just four straight days of blood drive. In years past, there have only been three days of blood drive. Those who were deferred could return the following week to donate. Because of the extra day in this year’s blood drive, people who are deferred can come back any time during the week depending on their reason for being deferred, or they can find someone else to donate in their place.”

Incentives for students involved in organizations were also added this year in an effort to increase donations. In the past, students could gain points for their organization by checking in and out at the blood drive. This year, extra points were awarded to students who donated or found someone to donate.

“The points are an incentive, just like the free T-shirts,” Shirazian said. “To be fair, every student who’s a part of an organization and who attempts to give blood receives points. But if you actually get stuck with the needle, or if you find another donor, then you’ll receive bonus points.”

The blood drive committee also tried to make the actual blood drive more fun, Shirazian said, with movies, popcorn machines, pizza and snacks as people waited in line.

The average blood drive in Missouri’s region collects 30 units. One thousand two hundred units are needed to support the region each day. MU collects the most blood of any university in the nation and holds the largest student-run blood drive, Red Cross Representative Lane Scholz said.

“The Red Cross is the sole provider of blood for the university,” Scholz said. “We want students to come together for a humanitarian effort to donate blood and save countless lives.”

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