Service fraternity hopes for high turnout at today’s blood drive

Simpson’s service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, is sponsoring a blood drive today and Friday. The blood collected will go to the Blood Center of Iowa. The drive will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day in Great Hall.

It is the group’s first blood drive of the semester. Allison Hay, public relations specialist for the Blood Center, said the center has always had a good response from Simpson.

“Students at Simpson College have been very supportive of the blood drives for several years,” Hay said.

Simpson’s positive response to previous blood drives has caused the blood center to increase the number of drives they hold here each year from three in 2004 to six this year.

Hay said college campuses are popular places for blood drives because of the number of potential donors.

“College campuses are great locations to get new people involved in the volunteer blood donation program,” Hay said. “As the population in Iowa ages, it is important for the Blood Center to recruit new donors to carry on the blood donation tradition.”

Sophomore Courtney Lezanic, a member of APO and head of the blood drive, said that campus response has already been impressive.

“We have over 100 people signed up already,” Lezanic said. “To reach our goal, we need a lot more, but we’re doing well.”

APO and the Blood Center set Simpson’s goal at 61 units for Thursday and 75 for Friday.

Currently, the blood center has a three-to-four day supply for all blood types. However, Hay said it can take up to three days to process a single unit of blood. Donations are needed constantly to maintain an adequate supply. Hay also said the Blood Center needs to be prepared for local and national emergencies.

The Blood Center currently serves 49 hospitals in central Iowa.

Sophomore Greg Sibbel said he tries to donate every time the blood center comes to campus.

“I am already signed up,” Sibbel said. “I understand how important it is to donate blood. People in our local hospitals need it every day.”

Lezanic said the blood drive is important to APO because it benefits so many people.

“Service is important to us,” Lezanic said. “This helps not just our group but the campus and community.”

She also pointed out the convenience for students and staff.

“People might not go out and give blood on their own, but since it’s here, that makes it easy,” Lezanic said.

Hay said that all blood types are needed.

“Donations from volunteer blood donors are needed at all times,” Hay said. “Approximately 39,000 Americans need blood or blood products each day.”

To be eligible, donors must be 16 years old, weigh at least 120 pounds and be in general good health.

Students who have spent a semester overseas or traveled abroad may not be eligible to donate. Hay said they can come and talk to a nurse or check the Blood Center Web site for stipulations.

Lezanic hopes everyone will consider donating.

“It’s a pretty easy way to help people,” Lezanic said. “It doesn’t take that much time out of your day, and you could be saving several lives.”