– UMSL blood drive on Sept. 8 exceeds goal of 44 donations
PHOTO: The UMSL fall Blood Drive at the MSC was hosted by the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center. The Current ©

By Daniel C. Hodges, Staff Writer for The Current

Sixty-three University of Missouri-St. Louis students, faculty, and staff each traded a pint of blood for a pint of ice cream, breaking a campus goal of 44 pints at the first blood drive of the 2014–2015 academic year on Monday, September 8.

The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center (MVRBC), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, returned once again to the University of Missouri-St. Louis to run the blood drive from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Century Rooms of the Millennium Student Center.

In comparison to an organization such as the Red Cross whose blood donations are distributed worldwide, the MVRBC provides blood to 88 hospitals across Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa.  Headquartered in Davenport, Iowa and serving a population of over four million people, the blood center handles over 250,000 units of blood from more than 180,000 donations per year at their 16 permanent donation sites and 4,000+ blood drives.

Each donation made can save up to three lives.  The MVRBC is always accepting applications for volunteers to aid with operations, support, or outreach.  More information can be found on their website at www.bloodcenter.org/join-our-team/volunteer-opportunities/volunteer-program-overview.aspx.

In addition to the MVRBC’s free t-shirt,  UMSL partnered with them to offer a free pint of ice cream to students, faculty, and staff who donated a pint of blood. In the Anika Barnes’s opinion (MVRBC), offering the free ice cream certainly positively impacts turnout—giving anything away free does.  Several students noted however that the promotion wasn’t a factor in their donation.

Some, like Joshua Jansen, freshman, biomedical engineering, were instead compelled to donate blood “because it’s the right thing to do.”  Others noted that the pint-for-a-pint offering wasn’t well advertised. Tiffany Shockley, senior, criminology and criminal justice, “didn’t even know [the ice cream] was there until I was up there.”  On the other hand, the donation itself was well-advertised. Students interviewed saw information about the blood drive Orgsync, the MSC bridge, and the inside of the MSC rotunda.

In the past, the blood drive has attracted more than 70 UMSL donors in a day.  This blood drive fell short of such an august number with only 63 donations, though well past the goal of 44.

The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center typically runs blood drives at UMSL approximately every three months but will run the next one earlier on October 30, also in the Century Rooms of the MSC.

Students planning on giving blood are advised to get plenty of sleep, drink water, eat a healthy meal (high in iron and low in fat), and if it is your first time to bring a form of identification.  Due to the sudden blood loss, blood donors are at risk of light-headedness and fainting.  Staff on site advised donors to eat the provided snacks (cookies, pretzels, cheese and crackers, and the free pint of ice cream), to avoid alcohol for up to 24 hours, and be sure to rest if they feel lightheaded.  All donors must have 56 days between each blood donation.

The Current 2014 ©