PSU gives blood in record numbers

On Feb. 3, Portland State University broke the record of units of blood donated by collecting 197 percent more blood than last year alone.

On Feb. 3, Portland State University broke the record of units of blood donated by collecting 197 percent more blood than last year alone. Held on the third floor of the Smith Memorial Student Union, students and faculty lined up to donate their blood, setting a record and new standard for the years to come.

Two-hundred-seventeen units were obtained in the two-day event.

“The Red Cross must collect over 5,000 units every week to meet Pacific Northwest hospitals’ needs,” said Joseph Shockley, the Pacific Northwest’s high school and college representative for the American Red Cross.

The Pacific Northwest (PNW) region began collecting blood in 1949 and covers Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Headquartered in Portland, the PNW Red Cross provides blood for more than 80 local hospitals throughout the three states, saving thousands of lives per year.

“Oregon State University is the leader of donations per blood drive in Oregon, with four days and around 1,000 units of blood donated,” Shockley said. “I’m determined to show the American Red Cross that PSU is just as capable of showing the support we see from OSU.”

Blood drives at PSU have been historically well attended, and so many people volunteer each year that the Red Cross is forced to turn people away.

The goal set is 500 percent of historical blood-drive donations; currently PSU is one-fourth of the way there.

“Next year’s blood drives, with the help of student organizations, will hope to collect and additional 200 percent— getting us halfway to our goal,” Shockley said.

The greatest obstacle will be finding out the ideal schedule for PSU students. By figuring out the hours and dates that work best for the optimal student turnout, Shockley hopes that by also “engaging student organizations to get the word out on a grassroots level” they will accomplish this task.

Past blood drive donors have signed up with their online scheduling system without student led recruitment or by contacting Gwyn Ashcom, PSU’s outreach coordinator for the Student Health and Counseling services.

“We wouldn’t be experiencing near the success at PSU if it weren’t for the help of Gwyn Ashcom,” Shockley said. “She has been a champion for our cause and continues to be a driving force.”

Ashcom has been organizing the PSU blood drives for the past few years.

“The Red Cross and I are trying to increase the number of drives a term so we can start beating OSU and U of O as the state school with the most active community,” she said.

Getting students involved is a vital part of achieving this goal. Shockley is in search of student groups and organizations that would find sponsors that considered blood drives at Portland State University a worthy cause.

The more blood donated, the more lives saved.