Portland State and the American Red Cross host a blood drive every term for students, faculty and members of the community. This year, the winter blood drive took place from Jan. 12–15 on the third floor of Smith Memorial Student Union.
This term, PSU students donated a total of 453 pints of blood, which brings the grand total of blood donated by PSU to the Red Cross 21,805 pints since their partnership became official in 1979.
“[PSU is the] second largest mobile blood drive operation we have in this entire region, so that’s covering both states of Oregon and Washington,” said Jared Schultzman, communications manager for the Red Cross blood services in the Pacific Northwest region.
Donors could make appointments in advance but the Red Cross also accepted walk-ins.
Daniel Kemper, a junior at PSU, decided to donate blood on a whim.
“Today I was walking by and I saw a sign, and I had a while in between classes, so I decided I’d fill that time,” Kemper said. “It’s something easy that I can do to help somebody else.”
Kristine Macdonald, a PSU graduate currently taking graduate-level classes, donated blood for the first time during the fall blood drive last October.
“It doesn’t cost me anything except a little bit of time, so I might as well,” Macdonald said. “More people should do it. It doesn’t take much time at all.”
According to Elizabeth Butler, a donor recruitment representative for the Red Cross, the process of giving blood takes about an hour.
Donors were given pre-donation information to read and, before donating, received health screenings to make sure they were healthy enough to donate. After their blood was drawn they were invited to sit in the canteen area where they were offered snacks and drinks to help regulate blood sugar and rehydrate.
All donors were offered free Red Cross t-shirts, and first-time donors received first-time donor pins.
The Red Cross has a national blood bank to which some of the blood donated during the drive will be sent. Butler said the Red Cross will make sure that the blood donated will first meet the needs of hospitals in the surrounding areas before being sent elsewhere in the country.
“Thanks to PSU staff and faculty and students, we really appreciate the opportunity to collect here,” Butler said.
“We really appreciate the relationship that we have with [PSU],” Schultzman said. “Blood drive sponsors are extremely important to us, especially our school blood drives.”
Students can also volunteer to work for the blood drives.
Ben Thomas, the Red Cross student group president, said that since the group was formed, student volunteering has been largely successful.
“Now that we have our group to help focus on [recruiting and training volunteers], it has really helped the blood drives function a lot smoother,” Thomas said.
Students who want to donate but missed the drive can participate in the spring blood drive from April 20–23.
Students can also use the Red Cross Donor App to find more opportunities to give blood. Go to redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.