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Wednesday, October 4, 2017
A Trinity student waits as his blood is drawn

First-year Alex Love was one of many students who donated blood

Tigers give blood in response to recent tragedies

by Jeremy Gerlach

In response to a string of disasters ranging from Hurricane Harvey to crises in Puerto Rico and Las Vegas, more than 50 Trinity University students gave blood Wednesday.

The blood drive, organized by the Trinity University Volunteer Action Community (TUVAC) and the Student Government Association, partnered with the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center (STBTC) to send much-needed blood to area hospitals and medical centers. The 51 donations will be able to save up to 153 lives, according to STBTC personnel. While the blood will be directed toward local patients in San Antonio and along the South Texas coast, national and international tragedies in recent weeks all motivated the Trinity campus to give, too, says Erin McGee ’19.

“This is saving lives,” McGee says. “After Harvey, and (Las) Vegas, I think that if anyone has the power to do something—whether that’s giving blood or donating something else—they should just do it.”

McGee was one of several Tigers huddled in the Fiesta  Room, waiting in line to register as other students strapped into blood-drawing machines that whirred, hummed, and clicked as more and more donated blood flowed.

Sitting next to McGee was Aidan Windorf ’21, cool and collected as he prepared for the process.

“This can be intimidating - my brother had a bad experience and passed out his first time,” Windorf says. “But I enjoy helping people; after you’ve done it before, you can even enjoy the feeling of giving blood.”

The entire process takes about 45 minutes, according to South Texas Blood and Tissue Center personnel on hand. That’s about 30 minutes of registration and about 10-15 minutes in the chair.

Alex Love ’21, another donor, calmly squeezed a stress ball to keep his veins flowing smoothly while hooked into a machine. Love, a Houston native, “just kind of wandered in” to the blood drive on his way from class in Northrup Hall.

“This is just blood,” Love says. “Other people need it more than me, so I might as well give it.”

This need, according to Jessica van Zijll ’15, now STBTC donor recruitment consultant, amounts to about 500 donations every day.

“That’s just for our area in South Texas,” she says. “Giving like this is important because we need this blood before emergencies happen.”

Scott Brown, assistant director for experiential learning at Trinity’s Center for Experiential Learning & Career Success, says the event is just one of many chances Tigers will have to give back over the course of the school year.

“The Trinity community has always been eager to help after disasters like Harvey and Vegas,” says Brown, noting that the TUVAC team had to extend the blood drive an hour due to overwhelming interest. “STBTC knows they can come here and fill 40 spots whenever they need us, because our students don’t hesitate to step up to the challenge.”

The next chance to give blood on campus will be during the spring semester, Zijll says.

“There’s a great culture of giving here,” Zijll adds. “And we’ve had a great response today.”

Jeremy Gerlach is Trinity's brand journalist. Email him at jgerlach [at] trinity.edu or find him on Twitter @JT_Gerlach.