More than 2,300 lives were potentially saved through blood drives held on the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith campus in the 2016-17 school year.
The five blood drives held on campus throughout the year netted 640 blood donations, resulting in 774 products. Products refer to either red blood cells, plasma, or double red blood cells garnered from donations, with different types of donations yielding different amounts of products. Each product potentially saves three lives.
The university holds five blood drives each year, with one held over the summer and four held between September and April. The blood drives are held in collaboration with the Arkansas Blood Institute, who distributes the blood garnered from the drives to 30 hospitals in Arkansas, including Sparks Health System and Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith.
Jasmine Hattabaugh, student activities coordinator, said the amount of blood donated at the blood drives “says a lot about our campus community.”
“Our students and employees are passionate about giving back and doing everything they can to help others,” she said. “We have a very caring and giving campus population, and our blood drives are drives that a lot of people in Arkansas depend on.”
While the blood drives are open to the public, Hattabaugh said most donations come from those already on campus. Additionally, Hattabaugh said there are numerous benefits for those who choose to donate blood, including a free health screening, as well as incentives like free T-shirts.
Hattabaugh said that the university plans to start a blood donor recognition program for students that will result in a cord for them to wear at graduation.
“Blood drives are already such a big part of our campus, but we want to integrate it further into our campus culture and incentivize more students to give,” Hattabaugh said. “It’s just another way for them to show their UAFS pride and at the same time save a life.”
The next blood drive will be held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. July 18 in the Reynolds Room on UAFS campus. Appointments for the blood drive may be made at the Student Activities Office, by calling 479-788-7699 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Walk-ins are also welcome.