The student chapter of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago at Northwestern University held its quarterly blood drive Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at SPAC. The club organizes three blood drives a year and has seen steady improvement in the number of donors since beginning the tradition last year.
According to Weinberg junior and co-president of NU Red Cross Deanna Mei, participants donated 54 units of blood, helping the club reach its goal of coming within 5 units of 55.
Donated blood goes toward accidents, transfusions, and surgeries, but universal donors are not always a possibility. Exact matches must be found for many blood recipients, Mei explained.
“It’s really important to provide an adequate amount of blood to hospitals so they have enough supplies,” she added.
The blood acquired by the Red Cross club is relayed to the Red Cross of Greater Chicago, the organization that distributes it to hospitals in the area. January was National Blood Donor month, according to the Red Cross website, so closing out the month with a local effort was important for the club.
Though 77 people volunteered to donate, a greater number than the units acquired, some potential donors had to be turned away because they did not meet certain requirements, such as not having lived abroad for more than three years or donating too often (within three months).
NU Red Cross hasn’t been doing these blood drives for long, because the club is in the process of gaining ASG recognition and gaining more publicity on campus. However, with each one since last year, the club has seen a greater turnout and amounts in donations.
“I think that we’re definitely improving every time, especially in regards to our attendance and outreach,” said Weinberg junior and co-president of NU Red Cross Jenny Yu. “I thought that the blood drive went well and I’m thankful to all the people who donated.”
Yu added that for next quarter, the club hopes to improve on publicity in the Evanston and Northwestern communities to increase the number of units of blood collected overall. Friday’s drive did, however, see a significant amount of non-NU affiliates who had seen fliers in Evanston and volunteered to donate.