Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
While the fall blood drive has been an annual event on the Swarthmore campus, this year’s effort represents a greater push than ever.
According to Karen Lorang ’07, coordinator-liaison for Student Council and also for the RAs, “this year we’re looking to try and increase not only the number of people who sign up but also the number of first time donors and the number of people who actually show on the day of the event. In the past, we’ve had a lot of problems with people not showing up, something that causes problems if hospitals expect a certain amount of blood and we aren’t able to deliver on that promise.”
For the first time this year, the RAs have been recruited as part of the process; RAs will be working closely with their halls to get students to sign up, explains Lorang, giving the process “more accountability, more face-to-face interaction than usual.” As in the past, the Delta Upsilon fraternity, Student Council, and the President’s Office are also involved with the drive.
One creative idea in the works for this year is a special high-iron menu in Sharples the week before the blood drive. Forty percent of women are routinely turned down on the day of donation based on low iron levels, and Lorang hopes that “through planning ahead… nobody will have to be turned away.”
One of the things the event organizers hope to change is Swarthmore’s giving rate, currently lower than those at comparable institutions. As Maurice Eldridge ’61, vice president of community and college relations, points out, “We should, given who we are as a community, be able to get 100% of our slots filled.” Lorang agrees, saying that she likes being involved the blood drive because “most people are on an even playing field in terms of how they can give.”
The blood drive will be held on Wednesday, October 5th, and although Eldridge is excited that “a third of our slots are already spoken for,” interested students can register beforehand with their RA, or online. Students should know to have an hour and twenty minutes set aside for their entire appointment.
Recent travel restrictions, especially on travel to the UK, have been scaled back, so those who could not donate earlier should check again. Most healthy people over 110 pounds and 17 years of age are eligible to give blood.