Gephardt News

1,000 Lives Saved: The Impact of a University-Wide Blood Drive

Blood drives are a life-saving tradition at Washington University. Sponsored by the Gephardt Institute in partnership with American Red Cross and Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, drives take place four times per academic year.

On September 11, the Gephardt Institute hosted the first university-wide blood drive of the semester and helped our partner blood banks exceed their goals. We successfully collected 362 units of blood, compared to an average of 332 units collected during 2017-2018 academic year drives. Each donation has the potential to save three lives, which means our community of donors impacted up to 1,086 individuals and their families. This impact is tremendous for recipients in need, particularly during peak holiday seasons and in areas effected by natural and human-made disasters.

Much of the September blood drive’s success is due to a strategic shift from multiple locations to a central location on the Danforth Campus, along with Olin Gym on the School of Medicine Campus. Gephardt Institute staff and Blood Drive Leadership Team (BDLT) members led this effort, working behind the scenes to raise campus awareness and market the shift while supporting blood bank partners with operational needs. All Danforth Campus activities took place in the Athletic Complex, and by focusing attention on this single location, event logistics were more streamlined and efficient.

“It was so fulfilling to walk into the donation room and see students helping the community by either volunteering or giving blood,” said BDLT member Sydney Curtis ’20. “The drive allows the WashU community to rally behind a cause and produce tangible impact for our local blood banks.” In addition to donating blood, many student, faculty, and staff members supported the September drive by recruiting peers, volunteering to assist the day of, or stopping by to learn about wellness education and inclusion initiatives like Ally Donation. 42 students and employees volunteered on drive day; up from 28 in April.

All of these individual efforts made the September blood drive one of our most successful to date.  As Lauren Hucko ’20, the Blood Drive Coordinator for the Gephardt Institute, shared, “We are proud of the WashU community for coming together to make the drive a success. We are looking forward to improving the drive in the months to come, and I encourage people to continue to get involved so we can save more lives and work toward collective betterment of our community.”

Our next University-Wide Blood Drive is on November 14, and we welcome all members of the WashU community to donate or help promote the event as we continue to build on September’s momentum. Students may also apply to be a part of the Blood Drive Leadership Team by clicking here.