Phi Sigma Pi hosts first blood drive of the year

Claire Fodell

In years past, blood drives at Grand Valley State University were coordinated by the Community Service Learning Center, but this year student organizations are leading the charge to save lives one pint at a time.

The fraternity Phi Sigma Pi will be hosting the first Michigan Blood Drive of 2013, and Greg Harmon, a spokesman of the fraternity, is optimistic about his organization’s ability to promote and host the drive.

The CSLC told Harmon that it expects to make 50 appointments for the drive and have 32 bags of blood taken. This shouldn’t be a hard number to reach considering the 40 blood drives at GVSU from September 2012 through April 2013 produced a total of 781 pints of blood—an average of 19 bags of blood per drive. However, those 781 pints are only for the Michigan Blood Drives. GVSU also hosted eight blood drives for the American Red Cross during the year with a total of 466 pints collected. The blood drives were hosted on both the Allendale and Pew campuses.

According to Jeff Mutch, a coordinator at the CSLC, donation numbers were so high for GVSU during the 2012-13 school year that the university received the MVP award from Michigan Blood during the organization’s College Care Challenge.

Throughout the months of March and April, Michigan Blood challenged universities across the state to have the highest percentage of their student population donating blood. GVSU not only had the highest percentage, but also had the biggest increase in participation from the previous year.

Only 11 of the GVSU blood drives from last school year were counted in the challenge with nearly 300 individuals donating—a 163 percent increase from the previous year.

This year, there will be two Michigan Blood drives each month, one outside Kleiner Commons and one outside The Connection. A different student organization will host both blood drives for that month. The first Michigan Blood Drive for 2013 will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 3 outside of
Kleiner Commons.

Harmon and Phi Sigma Pi are hoping to encourage blood donations by spreading the word about the blood drive with posters all over campus. Volunteers at the blood drive will be PSP members who will work in shifts throughout to day to make the blood drive run as smoothly as possible.

Harmon’s organization has also been asked to encourage more students to donate blood with sign-up tables in the Kirkhof Center today from 4 to 6 p.m.

Although this is the first blood drive Phi Sigma Pi has sponsored, Harmon already has some advice for those who plan on donating for the first time.

“Make sure to eat something before donating blood so that your iron levels aren’t too low,” he said.

Considering the high number of donations from GVSU in the past, he also suggests to make an appointment before donating. Walk-ins will be welcome, but they may be asked to wait until there is an open appointment.

For student organizations that would like to sponsor a blood drive next year, the CSLC will accept applications through OrgSync in April 2014.

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