UNCP and American Red Cross Combat Blood Shortage


By: Zachary C. Young, Editor-in-Chief

In America, every two seconds someone needs a blood donation, and one donation has the potential to save up to three lives. However, according to the American Red Cross, only 3% of eligible donors actually donate.

The UNCP chapters of Alpha Pi Omega sorority and Phi Sigma Nu fraternity partnered with Student Health Services to host the first blood drive of this academic year. The event took place in the UC Annex from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Rhyane Jacobs, President of the UNCP chapter of Alpha Pi Omega is a firm believer in community service and as a resident of Robeson County, she thinks this is an effective way to serve the area.

“Any sorority’s purpose is to give back to the community. The goal was to give back in any way we can. The more donations we have the more potential lives saved,” Jacobs said.

Both the fraternity and sorority co-hosted a blood drive on campus this past July. Given that the drive was during summer break, donor participation was slightly lower than drives during an academic year.

“Now that it is fall semester we have a lot more faculty, staff and students coming in. The turnout in the summer was about 60 donors. We probably already had 60 in the first hour.” Jacobs said.

Jaelyn Wynn, Assistant Director of Health Promotion, has been with Student Health Services since March 2, 2020. Since her time at UNCP she has made it a goal to host at least two blood drives each semester.

“Last year we had smaller drives, 60-70 units. The goal of this drive is 139 units. This is the biggest goal I have ever been given as long as I’ve been here,” said Wynn.

Each donor gives one unit of blood unless they give a power red donation. Power red donations are two units of blood per person. 

Calycee’ Taylor, Academic Success Coach with New Student Programs is an avid blood donor.

“I try to come whenever I can. There’s a blood shortage right now, so when it’s [blood drive] at school, why not,” Taylor said.

Beau Harry, Donor Recruitment for the Cape Fear Chapter of the American Red Cross helps facilitate and manage the logistics of the chapter’s blood drives. Harry worked hand in hand with Student Health Services to organize this event.

“At the Red Cross, we need and use all the blood. O+ is the universal blood type. Any blood that is not used here locally gets sent to other places,” Harry said.

COVID has impacted the way that the American Red Cross conducts drives, but they have adapted and continued this labor of love that saves lives.

“During COVID our need for blood is great. We have been in a critical need situation for a while. We need as many donors as we can get. The way the blood drives have been structured has changed a little bit. We are not doing blood drives in as many businesses as we used to. We are seeing a lot of those people come to drives like this. Civic drives, churches, civic communities, that sort of thing,” Harry added.

The drive came close to reaching their goal with a total of 124 donors, 51 of which were first-time donors. With 102 units of blood collected, UNCP potentially saved 306 lives.

The next blood drive will be hosted by Student Health Services on November 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the UC Annex.

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