Winter storms typically leave people barricaded indoors because of severe weather, but perhaps there is something worth adventuring outdoors for: donating blood.
This Tuesday, Feb. 3, Fairfield’s Rotaract Club held its tri-annual blood drive in alliance with the American Red Cross. From 11:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., students were welcome to donate blood. Although inclement weather disabled the event to run on Monday, nearly 60 students were able to participate.
“Winter is the worst time of year for blood banks,” said Paul Leahy, an account manager at the American Red Cross. Leahy explained that weather conditions around this time of the year usually lead to blood shortages due to blood’s short shelf life, which is around only 42 days.
Leahy also mentioned that schools such as the University of Connecticut were forced to completely cancel their blood drives this week due to the weather, causing them to lose out on hundreds of pints of blood. Yet, Fairfield’s drive among others, persisted.
“Typically we get around 90 people, but the weather really hurt us this year,” Emma Ford ‘15, one of the officers of the Rotaract Club, said.
Even with the difficult weather, however, Ford believes that the event was still successful.
“Every volunteer donates one pint of blood, and that donation goes on to save three people. So every bit counts,” she stated. Students are eligible to donate after filling out a generic medical questionnaire and completing a physical examination.
The key to successful blood drives are consistent donors. Ford said that the same American Red Cross workers usually come back each year.
“I’ve been here before and it is always nice. A lot of nursing students come by and they’re fun to deal with,” said American Cross worker Daniel Hauser.
“There is nothing more gratifying than coming here to help others save lives,” said fellow worker Marissa Colangelo.
It was apparent that students shared the same positivity at the event. “I’ve donated here at school before and it’s always a good experience,” Allie Martin ’17 stated. “Plus, it’s always great to give back.”
“It’s so easy to do, and you’re getting the chance to save a life every time you do it,” Anthony Greco ’16 said.
Fred Kuo, Fairfield University Student Association advisor and secondary advisor to the club, stated that, “People who donate usually become frequent donors, that’s what I’ve done. It’s about getting the word out and taking that first step.”
In terms of the blood drive, the club is now focusing on getting the word out and getting more people involved. In an attempt to get people more excited about the event, a new competition with Sacred Heart University has been launched.
“There is even a plaque now,” said Bowie, “Sacred Heart won two drives and we won the last one, so we’re hoping to win this drive too.”
Senior and Co-President of the Rotaract Club Hannah Bowie explained that the club puts this event on once in the fall and then twice in the spring semester with successful turnouts.
Fairfield University’s Rotaract Club is a collegiate chapter associated with the local Rotary Club of Fairfield. Rotaract Club aspires “to improve the community through humanitarian, intercultural and educational activities,” according to the town of Fairfield’s Rotary Club’s website.
Therefore, in addition to the blood drives, the club also runs other events such as the Basket Brigade, in which Thanksgiving baskets are delivered to families in need, and the Purple Pinky Project, where money is raised for third-world countries in need of Polio vaccinations. The club’s newest project is organizing a Bone Marrow Drive that will hopefully launch by the end of this year.