Drexel University participated in the 12th annual Colonial Athletic Association Blood Challenge Oct. 17, with blood donors throughout the University community rolling up their sleeves to give blood.
Drexel Athletics partnered with the American Red Cross to bring the CAA Blood Challenge to Drexel. Several blood donation sites were set up around Drexel’s campus for appointment or walk-in donations.
In 2012, Drexel placed third in the CAA Blood Challenge, collecting about 580 units of blood. The impact of this number is multiplied by three when one considers that each unit of blood collected can save up to three lives.
“It’s an outstanding number, one that really goes a long way in helping right here in the Philadelphia community,” Anthony Tornetta, spokesman for the American Red Cross, said. In the past 11 years of the CAA Blood Challenge, over 36,700 units of blood have been donated, aiding over 110,000 people.
“Our goal today is to collect 500 pints of blood,” Kathleen O’Brien, assistant athletic director for academic support, said. As of last week, 200 donors had signed up to give blood, with many more walk-ins expected.
Drexel Athletics is very involved with the organization and promotion of the event. Student-athletes helped advertise the blood drive by wearing their “Give Blood” T-shirts around campus and sporting appropriately colored red socks. Student-athletes also used social media to spread the word not only to students but also to the community, according to Damion Lee, a junior public relations major on the basketball team.
“We’ve done the red T-shirts since year 1 as a way to promote the blood drive,” O’Brien said. “It’s really a symbol of the event.”
The athletes themselves were not allowed to donate, as they are in season, but most team members gave two hours of their time to help run the event.
“There’s a culture in athletics, as well as other communities, about giving back, and I feel like this is our signature event,” O’Brien said. “We participate because the need is so important.”
Tornetta explained that Drexel is located in the Philadelphia market.
“We are an importing blood region. What that means is that we can always collect more blood. We just don’t have enough blood donors,” Tornetta said.
“All the blood collected in the Drexel CAA Blood Challenge will stay right here in the Philadelphia community,” Tornetta said. The blood collected at this blood drive will most likely be used in hospitals in this area within the week.
The only major change for this year’s Blood Challenge at Drexel was the use of multiple small locations spread across the campus. North, Myers and Van Rensselaer residence halls served as donation sites, as did the Alpha Pi Lambda and Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity houses. Donors also congregated at the Earle Mack School of Law and Burlington County College.
Because of the competitive nature of the blood drive, O’Brien will not disclose the number of donors or units of blood collected until after the Blood Challenge has concluded.
The University of Delaware was the CAA Blood Challenge champion last year. Delaware will host its blood drive Nov. 13. The results of the CAA Blood Challenge should be available late in November after the last blood drive is held Nov. 18 at Towson University.