Campus blood drive encourages students to donate amidst blood shortage

American Red Cross reports national blood shortage


Jackie Phillips/NW

BLOOD DRIVE – NMU nursing students Lauren Smith (left) and Megan Hendrickson (right) check in student blood donors. On Jan. 26, the American Red Cross held a blood drive in the Olson Library with help from NMU School of Nursing.

Jackie Phillips

The American Red Cross held a blood drive inside the Lydia M. Olson Library on Thursday, Jan. 26 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. with the help of the NMU Nursing School. 

The Red Cross reaches out to various high schools and colleges to see if they are interested in bringing a blood drive onto their campus. At various points throughout the school year, a team from the Red Cross location in Green Bay, Wisconsin comes up to the NMU campus and sets up their drive in the space provided to them by the library. 

Red Cross staff worked to draw blood from the students and handle the medical side of the drive, while NMU nursing students volunteered to run the check-in desk. The nursing students were informed of this volunteer opportunity through an email that was sent out to them earlier this month. 

A drive held on campus gives students convenient access, especially when they may not know of any drives happening in their community, NMU nursing student Megan Hendrickson said. 

“It’s easy access for kids in the dorms,” Hendrickson said. “College students might not know of other blood drives in the community, rather than on campus.” 

Currently, there is a blood shortage in the United States. According to an American Red Cross press release, this blood shortage is the worst seen in over a decade. There is always a continuous need for blood, but during this shortage there is even more of a need. Around 62 percent of Americans are eligible donors, but only three percent actually donate. 

Blood is not a product that can be manufactured, and every two seconds, somebody in the United States needs blood, Red Cross Account Manager Chris Luxton said. 

“There is always a need for blood,” Luxton said. “It’s really just a matter of someone taking the time and sitting down and giving the blood.” 

The Red Cross is always looking for both volunteers and student groups to sponsor these drives. Sponsors and volunteers help to spread the word about the drive in order to get even more donors, helping the blood shortage overall. 

“For any student organizations out there looking to do some volunteer work, we would be happy to have them sponsor one of these on-campus drives,” Luxton said. 

As an alternative to donating, the Red Cross offers volunteer opportunities, such as blood drive ambassadors. These opportunities are available for applicants through their website.

For those who are not willing to donate or who are unable to, there are some easy ways to get involved, NMU nursing student Lauren Smith said. 

“Either spread the word or even volunteer at an event,” Smith said. “We are sitting here checking people in and it is pretty easy. It is a good way to get involved.” 

The next on-campus blood drive is currently scheduled for March 30 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the library. Students can register for these drives on the HUB or can walk up to the check-in desk and sign up during the scheduled times. To search for other blood drives in the community, students can use the Red Cross’s website to locate a donation site near them.