Nicole Devereux, a Gamma Phi from Chicago with sorority sister Meg Czerwonka from Ann Arbor, Michigan show off their '50 Years of Saving Lives' t-shirts.

Nicole Devereux, a Gamma Phi from Chicago with sorority sister Meg Czerwonka from Ann Arbor, Michigan show off their ’50 Years of Saving Lives’ t-shirts.

OXFORD, Ohio – All thoughts are on the future as Miami University students settle in to September and the exciting year ahead. Hundreds poured into the Shriver Center Wednesday, Sept. 10 and Thursday, Sept. 11 to support the annual Community Blood Center (CBC) Greek Week Blood Drive. They may not have been thinking about Miami’s prominent past in CBC’s 50-year history of saving lives, but they were about to become part of the legacy.

The Greek Week Blood Drive traditionally gives fraternities and sororities their first opportunity to earn points toward the overall Greek Week title by recruiting the most donors. Games, athletics and dance competitions will follow with events scheduled Oct. 25 through Nov. 1 to coincide with Miami homecoming.

“This has been all brand new to me,” said Greek Week Director of Service Victoria DellaDonna, a senior Tri Delta member from Cleveland who serves as student coordinator of the blood drive and all Greek Week community service events. “But it has all come together, and that’s what matters. We’ve been blowing up social media and keeping lines of communications open with chapter presidents really helps. You have to send them a few emails – you have to be annoying pretty much!”

Last-minute prodding paid off with a flood of appointments. Wednesday saw 315 registrations, including 180 first-time donors, and 260 blood donations. The blood drive finished strong Thursday, surging to 343 registrations, 194 first-time donors and 258 donations. The two-day total of 658 registrations, 374 first-time donors, and 518 donations reached 93% of goal.

Miami set the cornerstone for CBC campus blood donation campaigns when it began with two mobile blood drives in 1978. By 2001 MU had expanded to 12 blood drives a year, an achievement that earned a national award from America’s Blood Centers. This year Miami will host 17 blood drives, and the Greek Week Blood Drive (a two-day event since 2007) is the crown jewel on the calendar.

“Six of the blood drives are sponsored by the faculty and staff group, led by Susan Gibson during two semesters and the summer term,” said CBC’s Bill Roy, account representative for Miami. “Nine are sponsored by 70 student organization during two semesters, and the two days of Greek Week. But Greek Week collections are equivalent to 10 of the regular Miami blood drives.”

Sigma Pi fraternity member Andy Keiser enjoyed a sprawling view of the Miami campus as he made an automated donation of double red blood cells in the Shriver Center’s Heritage Room. “It’s my first time doing doubles, and my first time donating!” he said. When asked to give a double donation of his type O blood, Andy saw it as a chance to support his fraternity and help others. “They’ve been sending out the word, telling everyone to come out,” he said. “It’s a good cause, and it doesn’t take too long.”

Junior Pat Nash finished his donation and joined fellow junior J.P. Cooleen in the Donor Café. “Me and my roommate donated,” Pat said, pointing to J.P. as they munched on giant chocolate chip cookies. “He said, ‘Let’s go give some blood!’ It’s a pretty easy thing to do. You spend about a half hour and get some free cookies!”

Donor Café volunteer Kellie Coppola handed a “50 Years of Saving Lives” t-shirt to senior Zach Silvestri, a Phi Kappa Psi member from Malvern, Pennsylvania who never misses a Greek Week Blood Drive. “I’ve never volunteered at this kind of event and I kind of wanted to see what it was like,” said Kellie, a sophomore Alpha Omicron Pi member. “I hadn’t done some community service in a while and this was a time to help others.”

Kappa Delta member Alison Thomas, a junior from Bethesda, Maryland arrived in the Café after making her 5th lifetime donation. “They’ve all been here (at Miami),” she said. “I figure it’s something I should do, if I am able to do it, because not everyone is able.”

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