Stanford Blood Center reaches out to dorms, PHEs

Jan. 24, 2011, 3:04 a.m.

Stanford Blood Center, coming off its most successful “Rivals for Life” blood drive in four years, is looking to keep the momentum going in 2011 with more regular White Plaza bloodmobiles and dorm outreach. Some students, however, say they are still deterred from donating because of time and inconvenience.

Stanford Blood Center reaches out to dorms, PHEs
John Dorman, above, was one of about 15 donors who gave blood at Vaden's blood drive on Friday. Eleven units of blood were collected on Friday. (ANNE PIPATHSOUK/The Stanford Daily)

The center supplies more than 100,000 units of blood and blood components each year for patients and research purposes.

“The trends we’ve been seeing the past few years have been really encouraging, and we’re always looking for new ways to boost our blood draws,” said Elisa Manzanares, Blood Center account manager.

“Rivals for Life” in November, an event Manzanares created, was the center’s most successful drive this year with 271 units collected by the Blood Center.

“It’s a great kickoff drive for the year because it’s so large,” Manzanares said. “It gives students a great opportunity to get involved early.”

The mobile blood drives in White Plaza also have become more fruitful since the center’s bloodmobile has become a regular fixture each month rather than a sporadic presence, as it has been in the past.

Now, the center is organizing drives in student houses, beginning in February and extending through the spring.

“We attract a lot of donors [at house drives] because it’s so convenient for students,” Manzanares said. “These drives are pretty comparable to White Plaza drives in terms of the amount we can collect.”

Though the blood drives have been generally successful overall, students still see room for improvement.

“My only complaint is that [donating] is a bit of a time commitment,” said Connor Raikes ’13, a regular donor. “There are a couple times that I’ve had to wait an hour or more to make a donation. I’ve always waited, but I could imagine other students who want to, but get turned off by the wait time.”

Convenience is another factor that may impact student donations.

A drive at Vaden Health Center on Friday attracted about 11 units of blood from about 15 donors, compared to White Plaza drives, which usually bring in 30 to 40 units.

“People don’t want to be inconvenienced, even on campus,” Manzanares said. “The White Plaza drives are hard to miss, because students are always passing through. Vaden is a little out of the way, and out of mind for a lot of people.”

Still, Manzanares sees potential for growth for drives at Vaden, with a new outreach strategy launched by the center this year. Vaden is now working closely with peer health educators (PHEs) in student houses to raise awareness about blood drives.

“Some dorms do have the ‘vampire’ position within the dorm government to take care of that, and the PHE serves as a middleman, working with vampires to raise awareness,” said Junipero house PHE Anna Grummon ’11.

The blood center encourages student involvement at all levels, and Manzanares hopes to see the current trends continue.

“It’s as simple as finding the nearest blood drive and helping us save a life,” she said. “You watch [recipients] get a unit of blood, and all of a sudden they have so much energy. They become themselves. It’s amazing that people can provide that.”

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, The Daily incorrectly reported that the Blood Center collected 234 units of blood in 201o.

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