DAYTON, Ohio – Sinclair Community College students detoured around a few snowy sidewalks, and an occasional snowman, to attend classes on Presidents’ Day, Monday, Feb. 15 and support the Community Blood Center blood drive in the library.
Community service and helping patients in need was the goal of all the student donors and blood drive volunteers. The Phi Theta Kappa honor society, Nu Pi chapter serves as the student sponsor group for the four CBC blood drives hosted by Sinclair during the 2015-2016 school year.
Area high schools were closed Monday, but not college campuses like Sinclair. Despite the snow and the holiday, Monday’s blood drive was supported by 33 donors, including nine first-time donors, resulting in 26 donations.
The Presidents’ Day blood drive was an opportunity to both rollup sleeves to donate blood, and to check the pulse on student interest in the 2016 presidential race. Early voting and polling shows many college students getting engaged in “non-mainstream” politics. Sinclair has a more diverse, non-traditional age student body, including students who have already been in the work force, armed services, or have earned other degrees.
“I saw the sign for the blood drive,” said first-time donor Vanessa Cardena. “My mom always said I should go and donate.” Though she is from Yucatan, Mexico, Venessa has an active interest in the presidential race. “Absolutely,” she said. “It’s important to know about the country you’re in.”
First-time donor Brianna Terrell credited fellow nursing student Kelli Puckett for encouraging her to donate. She admits to be caught up in a whirlwind of first-year studies. “I’m a nursing student so I have no time for politics or watching TV or really anything I don’t need to know right now!” she said.
Dayton native Keith Woods began donating while serving three years in the U.S. Army and is now studying real estate at Sinclair on the GI Bill. He said he is following the presidential race because, “You have to, it’s a necessity. I like Bernie. When he speaks he has a lot of conviction.”
As the primary season heats up, students are taking more interest. “I watched the Republican debate Saturday for the first time,” said Autumn Huston, a first-year student in early childhood education who made her third lifetime donation Monday.
“When we get down to two, I’ll get more into it,” said Drew Schwieterman after making his sixth lifetime blood donation.
Phi Theta Kappa volunteer Melissa Ward is serving in the U.S. Air Force at Wright Patt and takes evening classes in nursing at Sinclair. She knows that no matter how busy you may be, you can’t completely escape the national dialogue on the race for president. “I hear a lot from my parents,” she said. “They’re from Jersey. My step-mom called the other night and talked 45 minutes non-stop!”
The primary season will be in full swing with more to talk about when Sinclair hosts its next blood drive May 3 in the library.