Megan Hayes | News Editor
Through times of need, it is very important to give back to the community—and something that is very easy and simple to do yet could save lives is giving blood! This semester, Eastern hosted a blood drive through the American Red Cross on January 31st and February 1st, which was hosted in the Betty Tipton Room of the Student Center. This event was co-sponsored by Campus Ministry and the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), and allowed for students, faculty, and visitors on campus to donate blood as well as volunteer to help with the event. As well as bringing the campus community together, it gets local businesses involved too, as the Domino’s Pizza on Valley Street in Willimantic graciously donated pizza to the “canteen”, where participants rest and eat after they have finished giving blood. The donation days typically run from 11:15am-4:45pm, with four health history tables and six donation tables, all being run by phlebotomists from the American Red Cross.
I spoke to Nancy from Campus Ministry, who was ensuring that participants were being fed and given time to rest with a table of pizza, snacks, and pancakes, which is a crucial part of a blood drive to ensure all participants are feeling healthy. When asked about the message of an event like this, Nancy gave some insight into how much importance an event like this holds for the community. “It is very important for us to give back, as the Red Cross is always in need of blood. It is pretty easy to do, just hydrate and eat well! One pint of blood can save up to 3 lives,” she says. At the end of the first day of donation, the drive had received 50 pints of blood, which could save up to 150 lives! Alongside Nancy, I spoke to student volunteers on what sort of impact this had on them. “It is always a fun and laid-back event, and I volunteer every semester. I feel it is very important to be involved in something like this as a student,” says Alondra, a sophomore at Eastern. Jannine, a senior at Eastern, shared that it is “important to have this sort of event on college campuses, as there are patterns of people not donating as much which is causing a lack in the blood supply—it’s a great way to see that this is still an important issue on our community’s campus.” Abby, another senior at Eastern, said volunteering was “another way to get involved even though I cannot donate,” which is important to know for students looking to help that may not be able to donate for health reasons.
| "One pint of blood can save up to three lives."
Tracy Lee, the supervisor of the event from the American Red Cross gave us some insight into how to get involved at the next blood drive that will be hosted at Eastern on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 4th, and 5th of 2023. If you are looking to donate, you can sign up online through www.redcrossblood.org, which will tell you anything required that you need to bring with you to the drive. Donating typically takes less than one hour, and participants are recommended to rest and eat at the snack table for about 15 minutes to ensure that their bodies are feeling okay, as sometimes dizziness occurs. Tracy also recommends beginning hydrating 3-4 days prior to donating, and to eat a good and balanced meal beforehand. If students are looking to volunteer at events like this, they can look at the Center for Community Engagement tab in the Student Services section of Eastern’s eWeb, or contact Nancy Brennan from Campus Ministry directly.