From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 14, and Thursday, Oct. 15, the University will host a blood drive to benefit the American Red Cross. The drive will be held at the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding.
In an email to The Daily Princetonian, David Brown, Assistant Director at the Pace Center for Civic Engagement (PACE) and Director of the Student Volunteers Council (SVC), wrote that in past years, the Office of Community and Regional Affairs, alongside SVC members Daniel Jubas ’21 and Nikolas Aguilar ’22, have run campus blood drives.
“Community and Regional Affairs’ drives have focused on inviting faculty and staff to participate, while Daniel and Nikolas’ drives with SVC have focused on students,” he wrote.
Emily Gazzara, Donor Recruitment Associate at American Red Cross for the Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region, told the ‘Prince’ that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many community drives have closed, and the Red Cross was “losing hundreds of pints without anywhere to replace them.” With these challenges in mind, the University agreed to host this drive.
Another blood drive, also hosted by the Red Cross, took place in Princeton last month, but it was unable to meet its donation goal. This time around, organizers lowered their goal to 20 pints per day, which Gazzara is confident they will meet. Most of the appointments to donate have already been filled.
“We can’t really recruit in the way that we used to be able to. There’s no point in reaching out to businesses or putting flyers up on bulletin boards, things like that, so recruitment and turnout isn’t that great,” Gazzara told the ‘Prince,’ “but thankfully with the sponsors we’ve had at Princeton, we’ve been able to keep those signups steady.”
Brown stressed that it remains safe to donate blood during the pandemic. According to the Red Cross website, blood donation sites will take numerous precautions, including enforcing social distancing between blood donors, requiring masks for both staff and donors, and disinfecting surfaces between patients. In an FAQ featured on the organization’s site, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams says, “[Y]ou can still go out and give blood. We’re worried about potential blood shortages in the future.”
Gazzara further encouraged any eligible students to donate blood, whether or not they are in the Princeton area.
“Even though a lot of things have closed, our lives have been affected in so many different ways, but something that hasn’t been affected is the need for blood, that is something that will always stay constant,” she said.
She underscored the continued need for blood donations.
“People will still have sickle cell anemia. People will still be in car accidents. That isn’t really stopping. If anything, we need it now more than ever because, with the COVID-19 antibody testing, we’re doing another test to collect that plasma that is experimentally helping patients with COVID-19. And with the fires that are going on across the country, the Red Cross is able to mobilize that blood,“ she said.
The drive sponsored by the University has limited spots available, although interested students are encouraged to periodically check in case of last-minute cancellations. Another Red Cross blood drive with more availability is also being held in the town of Princeton this Thursday.