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  • Writer's pictureNEIA Red Cross

All in This Together: ISU Spring Drive

Auditoriums and performance centers have been vacant since the pandemic started a year ago, but the Iowa

State University Blood Drive group put Stephens Auditorium to good use last week for their spring blood drive. Over the course of three days, students, staff and community members were greeted with fun music blaring and the promise of good snacks and conversation. Like all blood drives, this one followed COVID-19 protocols. Volunteers took temperatures as donors entered. Beds were spaced apart. Masks were worn, and social distance was observed as much as possible. However, even in pandemic times, this drive collected an incredible 843 units of blood.

Those responsible for this successful blood drive are ISU students and co-directors of Blood Drive Justin Watkins (junior), Megan Giesen (senior) and Gavin Sullivan (junior). All three have been involved with the group’s work to put on one blood drive per semester for the past three years, and each got involved for the fun and friendships. All three are also consistent blood donors. “It’s one of the easiest ways you can save three lives in twenty minutes,” answered Watkins when asked why he’s a blood donor.

(From left to right: Megan Giesen, Justin Watkins, Gavin Sullivan)

Giesen was thrilled by the turnout for the spring drive. She explained that a lot of work and effort goes into producing two large-scale drives per school year. Blood Drive solicits sponsorships from local businesses and restaurants to raise funds for the space, snacks and advertising. Sullivan said they work hard to create a fun environment. Near the snack station were informational groups who bought table space with their sponsorships. The blood drive even had an extra credit station for students who took time out of their day to give blood.

Blood Drive hoped to register 700 donors during this drive. They ended up registering 867 donors. This drive and the work of the group also inspired 270 new blood donors. The three co-directors of Blood Drive expressed hope that students would give and that they would become lifelong blood donors. Giesen will graduate this spring, but her work with Blood Drive will stay with her. “I will still be a blood donor,” she said.

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