ISU blood drive recruits students to save lives

Carly Mckinney

This week, Iowa State has hosted its annual fall blood drive, one of the largest in the nation. Thousands of students, faculty and staff members donated blood and volunteered their time for the cause, which will in turn save thousands of lives.

Chelsea Anderson, senior in supply chain management and one of the blood drive co-directors, said preparations for this year’s drive began a couple weeks after the drive last spring. Applications for committees are released for the approximately 80 committee member positions and 14 executive positions, all of which are open to anyone on campus. 

The committee members have put in extensive efforts to make the blood drive a success, including attending weekly meetings and seeking out help from the community. Jenny Thelen, junior in animal ecology and fundraising committee member, contacted businesses in Ames asking for sponsorship. Businesses including Cold Stone Creamery, Panda Express and Buffalo Wild Wings donated some of their profits to the blood drive through giveback events.

“I wanted the chance to volunteer, and the position has given me better time management and organizational skills,” Thelen said.

She loves being part of something so big at ISU. “Knowing you’re making such a big difference is a reward in itself,” she said. 

Amanda Platten, sophomore in family and consumer science education and studies and a member of the volunteer committee, has helped to organize the approximately 800 volunteers that have taken part in the blood drive, not to mention all of the people who have been deferred from donating. She said she has tried to be available at the blood drive as much as possible this week because “it’s tons of fun.”

The blood drive also lends itself to be a Homecoming competition between greek houses. The pairings get a point per person who either donates or volunteers, which is a big part of why the blood drive is so huge.

Anderson said that since the blood drive is already so huge in the greek community, “the big goal is to get non-greek students” involved this year.

One way the committees are recruiting non-greek students is through a dorm-floor competition. The floor with the most participants will be receiving a gift card for each floor member. Also, professors were given the option to provide students with extra credit for their participation in the blood drive for a little extra incentive.

Whether greek or not, the committee members, volunteers and donors are making a huge difference this week in saving lives. The goal was for 2,500 donations this year, and Anderson said they are right on track, which will help to save thousands of people.