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Win/Win: Beating Michigan and saving lives

Friday, Feb. 22 marked the end of the 2013 MSU v. UofM Blood Battle for the American Red Cross, and the winning school is to be presented with the traveling trophy when the schools battle at their hockey game at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

As of Feb. 19, the blood count was 896 to 773 pints, Michigan State in the lead.

Photo credit: Joe Orlando

Shannon Smith, Donor Recruitment Representative at MSU, explained that UofM started and ended a week earlier than MSU, they would not reveal results for the last two days until MSU’s blood drive finished. In the last two days alone, U of M had six more drives, giving them the potential to earn 277 more units. That’s compared to MSU’s potential for 143 units with three drives in the final days.

Smith said that competition is a contributing factor as motivation for students to donate, but mostly, “they’re just good students who know what kind of impact this has. They know there’s an urgent need for blood.”

Amanda Degraaf, the Red Cross chair for Alpha Phi Omega, said students’ motivations seem to be a mix of just wanting to give and giving for the sake of competing.

“A lot of people are motivated by personal stories, such as people in their families who may have needed blood transfusions,” she said.

When putting out the word about the challenge and saying “help us beat UofM,” Degraaf said it’s a big way in her chapter to get people to want to donate.

She also referred to the blood drives canceled last fall due to Hurricane Sandy.

“It’s important for people to donate because blood is needed, and when things like hurricanes and other natural disasters happen, they have to pull from other regions… There are so many people out there that are in need of blood, and I think it’s just a really great cause to help out with.”

Photo credit: Joe Orlando

Sophomore Jessie Plamp, a regular volunteer, said she has noticed people will donate for the incentives like competition or gift cards, as well as just knowing that they’re saving three lives with each donation.

Plamp also said that when the American Red Cross calls their donors and recruits them to donate again, it’s because they know that if they get you the first time, they’ll probably have you for a while.

Brianna Blais, a sophomore business major, finds motivation in competing against other schools in blood drives. “I’m more excited when it’s against other schools. It gives us a chance to get our name out there.”

A regular donor, Blais said, “It’s an easy way to help people. It doesn’t take much… and makes a big impact on people.”

Blood drive challenges typically go for about three weeks with different clubs sponsoring one every day.

Smith said that by having a different group sponsoring each day, it’s a way for them to reach out to different students. They work together to pull volunteers and recruit people. It’s all run and sponsored by students.

“That’s a difference between blood drives on campus versus anywhere else: the community all comes together,” she said.

According to Smith, the blood drive challenge started as a Big Ten challenge in 2002, but has since “dwindled down” to just a few schools. She said representatives from different territories wanted to get together for this competition so it would be a good idea to get people to donate. The original goal was 500 pints of blood; the goal has now grown to 1,250 pints.

 

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