On-campus Red Cross blood drive combats summer shortage


Ryan Pini

Students and eligible donors give blood at the OSI Red Cross Blood Drive on Monday, Sept. 9.

Taylor McDaniel, Staff Reporter

September for college students may mean the hectic schedule of managing new courses, jobs, extracurriculars and a social life — or lack of one. It may mean the smell of new — or “slightly” used — textbooks that instantly drain our funds. It’s an exciting yet exhausting time for us all. 

While September may be the start of a new semester for college students at Oakland University, it may be important to note that it is also Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. 

It was approximated by the National Cancer Institute that more than 15,000 children and adolescents would be diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. last year — many of which are in need of blood products on a regular basis. 

The Office for Student Involvement (OSI) hosted an American Red Cross blood drive Monday, Sept. 9, in a diligent effort to support those in need of blood transfusions — specifically children, teens, and young adults battling cancer. The drive was held in Rooms 128-130 from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. in the Oakland Center. 

Eligible donors are urged by the Red Cross to donate following the summer shortage of blood. Hurricane Dorian has also forced around 100 Red Cross blood drives and donation centers to be canceled, resulting in the loss of more than 2,300 blood and platelet donations. According to the Red Cross, individuals in unaffected areas are crucial to keep a sufficient supply of blood available for those who need it — just don’t forget to eat before you donate. 

Red Cross volunteer Kenyatta Jiles said it is imperative to eat and stay hydrated before and after a person donates. There were even snacks for after the blood donation process. 

“If you don’t [eat and stay hydrated] dizziness can hit you like that — out of nowhere,” Jiles said. “Drink so much water that you have to pee beforehand.” 

The Red Cross enticed eligible persons to donate blood by collaborating with Sports Clips Haircuts to offer a free haircut coupon via email to each donor — a part of the annual Saving Lives Never Looked So Good campaign.

The OSI had its own incentive to get students to donate: a chance to win two 2019 tickets to Cedar Point theme park. 

The added perks of helping those in need seemed to work. The drive was open to the public, and there was almost constantly a line for walk-ins. Students were also able to book an appointment ahead of time — a good idea if you have a packed class schedule. 

“The [blood donation process] takes about 45 minutes from beginning to end,” Natalia Quryaqos, Red Cross nurse, said. 

Jiles said the blood drive was a steady day of students and the general public donating blood. 

“There was a morning rush, one around lunch, and there’ll probably be another later after people get off of work,” she said during the drive. 

If you are an OU student who missed the Sept. 9 blood drive, don’t fret! All future blood drives — either on OU’s campus or another local spot — can be found on the American Red Cross’ official website, as well as the option to donate to the organization.