For Plattsburgh State students trying to make extra cash, students have an opportunity to receive up to $2,500 in scholarship money and a $200 gift card from the Red Cross for hosting a blood drive from Dec. 15 to Jan. 15.
Donations by high schools and universities account for as much as 20 percent of blood donations through the Red Cross, according to the Red Cross. During the winter months, these numbers tend to dip.
“Winter is a difficult time to collect enough blood to meet patient needs with inclement weather and seasonal illnesses reducing the number of volunteer donors that come out to give,” External Communications Manager of the Red Cross Cara Leyna Noble said.
With the Leaders Save Lives program, Noble said students can learn skills on coordinating and sponsoring blood drives, valuable leadership as well as management skills. Students who host a blood drive essentially become managers of the event.
To become a coordinator, Noble said students have to register and work with the department, which will have somebody help them with the process and goals of the organization. A representative will work with the students to figure out the day of their drive, their goal and their outreach.
In order to be eligible for up to $2,500 in scholarships and earn a gift card, students have to host a drive. To receive a $50 gift card, 25 pints of blood must be donated. Over 100 pints is required to receive $200.
Any student can host a blood drive, and there’s no cap on how many students are eligible.
“There can be more than one blood drive,” Noble said. “I don’t think that would be a problem. We have blood drives seven days a week all across New York state.”
Noble said this is one of many programs they have to engage high school and college students with a unique scholarship program. It will help teach students across the state the importance of blood donations.
“You can start a life-saving habit young and continue it in your adult life,” Noble said.
PSUC HRT and spanish major Cassidy Pulver said she didn’t know there were special opportunities for students to participate in blood drives that can lead to scholarships.
“It would be a good opportunity for an HRT major. It would help me with experience in management,” Pulver said.
“I would love to donate blood, but unfortunately I can’t,” Pulver said.
Pulver has a kidney disease that runs in the family. Because of the disease, she can’t donate, but she said she would be interested in looking into the Leaders Save Lives blood drive.
Pulver said the Red Cross is a great organization.
“No matter what it is, they respond to something whether it’s small or a major disaster.”
“Overall it’s going to be a great initiative for high school and college students,” Pulver said. “If more students are interested in hosting, in the end there will be more blood donors, more blood donated and more lives saved.”
Blood drives are familiar for public relations major Eve Barnofsky. Her mother is the head of volunteers for the Long Island Blood Center. Barnofsky’s mother has set up blood drives at Citi Field.
“So setting up one for my church was nothing,” she said. “I got like $500 in scholarship money.”
Hosting a blood drive, Barnofsky said, is a lot harder than one might think.
“You have to call and be rejected by a lot of people.”
Barnofsky said one would receive a list of local donors, which he or she would have to call. There are specific times to call that are most convenient for instance 6 to 8 p.m. Barnofsky had a blood drive in January and started the process in November. At her first blood drive, she had almost 100 people there.
“When you go outside of the school to do it, you have to find your own place and donors,” Barnofsky said.
She would be interested in hosting a blood drive because she loves doing them.
“It’s really rewarding knowing that you’re helping people,” Barnofsky said. “My mom does work for the Long Island Blood Center, so she might kill me because the Red Cross is their rival.”
Even if Barnofsky couldn’t do it, she said she should definitely donate.
When talking about the difficulties of having a blood drive during the winter, Barnofsky said: “People don’t want to come out. It was hard to get people out because of snowstorms. It really is difficult. It’s hard enough to get people out anyway, and the cold makes it even harder.”
Being able to host their own blood drive is an incentive for young people, TV video major Lateef Wearrien said. “People still need blood. I like how there’s an incentive of keeping the mission going.”
Wearrien said he would be interested in doing it.
“Every time CVPH is here I give blood. It’s one of the little things that you can do to give back to the community,” he said.
Email Patrick Willisch at firstname.lastname@example.org