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Getting out the blood for Homecoming

BY KATHRYN STINSON | OCTOBER 06, 2009 7:20 AM

Julie Koehn/The Daily Iowan
UI sophomore Jon Rice leans back while giving blood during a blood drive in the IMU second-floor ballroom on Monday. The drive was one of the events going on for Homecoming this week.
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Greek letters and vibrant T-shirts overwhelmed the IMU’s second-floor ballroom as students lined up to donate blood at the annual Homecoming blood drive.

The UI Homecoming Committee sponsored the event, hoping for approximately 100 donations from UI students. But by late afternoon the blood drive had exceeded that number, with donors giving around 150 pints of blood, said Jennifer Ruggio, the Homecoming Committee’s sports night and blood drive coordinator.

“The turnout has been really great and consistent,” she said. “It really picked up around the lunch hour.”

The event was cosponsored by the Homecoming Council and the Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity.

The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center and DeGowin Blood Center collected donations at the event. The two equally split the job of supplying the UI Hospitals and Clinics with the blood they use daily.

The blood drive was open to both UI students and the Iowa City community. Greek life dominated the event as sorority and fraternity members received 20 points toward the annual Homecoming greek competition. At the end of Homecoming Week, the house with the most points wins.

Caroline Smith, a UI senior majoring in finance and marketing, said she traditionally participates in blood drives for both Homecoming and Greek Weeks. She loves the competition.

“It helps people and goes toward our sorority,” she said. “It’s fun to be competitive. Plus, there are treats.”

Even the most experienced person can be nervous when giving blood, said Janie Hughes, a blood collector for the Mississippi Valley Center. But that doesn’t seem to stop them, she said.

“Not many are too excited to get needles in their arms,” she said.

UI sophomore Serena Everhart said she passed out during her last two donating experiences, but she still volunteers to give.

The Alpha Chi Omega member and English major donates every year at the blood drive, something she said helps to save lives and rewards her with Homecoming participation points for her sorority.

“I’m not a big fan of needles,” she said. “But I can grin and bear with it for 30 minutes to help another person; it’s worth it in the end.”

In order to supply the UIHC, as well as the other local hospitals, the Mississippi Valley Center’s donor bank requires 2,010 donations every week. Last year, the company helped more than 270,000 patients with around 100,000 volunteer donation collections. Donated blood supplies are most frequently given to cancer patients, those suffering from heart disease, and emergency accident victims.


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