By Dylan Smith
Students and faculty came out for The Spring Blood Drive at Saint Peter’s College, held on Tuesday, April 24th, as Campus Ministry hopes to break a record of the total amount of blood donated.
According to the Red Cross, who co-sponsored the event, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood, while more than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day. For others who suffer from diseases like sickle cell anemia, the need for consistent blood transfusions throughout their lives is another reason why donating is important.
“Sickle cell disease affects more than 80,000 people in the U.S., 98 percent of whom are African American,” reads The Red Cross’ official website. “Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives.”
These health needs have inspired some students to take action within the Saint Peter’s College community, like Sushanta Mozumder, who is involved with several organizations on the college’s campus. For his work with Campus Ministry, he decided to participate in the blood drive.
“My role as a workstudy for Campus Ministry was to promote the blood drive as well as donate myself, but the donation was my choice,” said Mozumder, a junior at SPC who goes by the nickname “Sushi”. “Campus Ministry was involved as they were the ones who set it up.”
By being involved with Campus Ministry and other organizations, Mozumder believes that students can gain a higher understanding of what their community may need and how to improve their community in several ways. In fact, Campus Ministry teams up Student Activities, with the help of Erich Sekel, the Associate Director of Campus Ministry for Community Service, and require all student organizations, including clubs, academic fraternities, and sports teams, to complete an act of community service every semester, which goes along with the Jesuit mission of helping others that Saint Peter’s builds itself around. In addition to the required service, Campus Ministry will often hold other acts of services for students to volunteer for, like Midnight Runs or working with the Junkyard Dogs program.
“Since I’ve been here several different organizations have worked with campus ministry to help raise awareness for the need to donate,” Mozumder explained. “Some of these organizations involved are the Blood Center of NY, the Blood Center of NJ, American Red Cross, etc. The reason for doing this is because there is a constant need for blood for medical purposes. One example is blood transfusions for those who have been in major accidents.”
Campus Ministry has been so involved with trying to build up the core of SPC’s community service that they even decided to participate in the MAAC Blood Drive Challenge back in February, which required them to collect more than five times their highest amount of units of blood ever collected in the past. However, they were not able to beat such a record.
Some students however are put off from donating blood. Freshmen Nathalie Staiger said that she was rushed near the end of her session when she donated at SPC’s Fall Blood Drive, and was told by the woman taking her blood to do steps that Staiger, as a nursing student, knew were wrong.
“Last time I donated, I had bruises all over my arm and they really hurt,” Staiger said. “I knew she was doing stuff wrong.”
At this point in time, it is unknown how much blood Saint Peter’s was able to collect for The Spring Blood Drive, but according to students like Mozumder, any large goal or sign of achievement and glory should not distract students from what many consider to still be the real reason for why they volunteer and paticipate in community service.
“It is important to donate because it helps fill the need for blood in order to help people who have blood diseases and/or have lost blood due to accidents,” said Mozumder, who does take pride in how much SPC has done in the last couple of years. “SPC’s blood drives are always very successful. They always reach their desired quota.”