Students roll up their sleeves for APO’s annual blood drives

by Peter KaspariStaff Writer

The third of Simpson College’s annual blood drives occurred last Thursday and Friday, April 9-10, in Great Hall.

Simpson’s blood drives are sponsored by Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity on campus.

The blood drives held in the spring usually see more than 100 participants.

“This spring we had about 120 people sign up to give blood and collected almost 80 units of blood,” sophomore APO member Megan Berlin said. “Although this number is a little lower than usual, it was still a great turnout.”

The group has blood drives throughout the year to give students and faculty multiple opportunities to donate.

“We try to aim for two to three drives per year, with at least one per semester,” Berlin said. “This year, PRSSA also sponsored a blood drive in February.”

The blood drives are just one of many activities that members of APO participate in.

“APO is a service fraternity which goes out into the community and really helps with anything that needs to get done,” Berlin said. “We are ready and willing whenever we are called to service.”

While the drives serve the initial purpose of donating blood, Berlin said there are numerous reasons why they choose to bring them back every year.

“It started as an easy way for students to contribute to their community,” Berlin said. “The blood drives also bring awareness as to how important it is to donate blood and the impact it can have on so many lives.”

Simpson is just one of many colleges that actively participate in annual blood drives.

“We have another at Drake,” Diane Wood, site coordinator for the Blood Center of Iowa, said. “We go to pretty much every college around.”

Although Simpson is not unique in sponsoring blood drives on campus, there are aspects of the drive that make it stand out among those held at colleges.

“It’s two days long,” Wood said. “There are some places where we go four days, but Simpson is one of our bigger ones, and we have lots of donors.”

Sophomore Katelyn Teachout was one of many Simpson students who gave blood during the last drive on Friday.

“[I like] that I can help other people and that I can save lives,” Teachout said.

Teachout said she thinks APO does a good thing by offering the blood drives.

“I think Simpson should continue doing so because it’s a great cause,” Teachout said.

Berlin said that Simpson’s donors are usually very generous.

“Sometimes it can be hard to encourage people to participate, because many people do not like needles or blood,” Berlin said. “The Simpson community is pretty awesome at supporting this cause. There is a ton of faculty and staff backing, and many students see it as a way to give back that doesn’t take up too much of their time.”

All the blood received goes on to assist many people.

“There is always a need for blood supplies in local hospitals,” Berlin said. “In Iowa, thousands of people need blood transfusions each and every day. The blood that is donated goes towards saving lives.”

Wood agreed with Berlin’s feelings.

“With each unit of blood, there’s the potential of three lives you could save,” Wood said.

Berlin hopes that Simpson serves as an inspiration to others.

“The Simpson blood drives help to show the larger community that college students are giving back to their community and do care about others,” Berlin said. “I hope that members of the Indianola area are inspired to give blood after hearing about what Simpson College students are doing.”