OXFORD, Ohio – The 40th annual Greek Week Blood Drive on Sept. 25-26 at the Armstrong Student Center celebrated Miami University’s long tradition of dedicating mind, body and spirit to causes that will help others.
“When you see them making a difference like this, you want to be part of that,” said Renate Crawford, wife of Miami President Greg Crawford, as she met students donating in Fritz Pavilion Sept. 26. “For the Greeks especially, you get to see the good things they’re doing.”
Renate and Greg are scientists, health enthusiasts and dedicated advocates for social justice. Greg became Miami’s 22nd president in 2016 and Renate stepped into the role of ambassador and adjunct physics professor.
The inaugural Greek Week Blood Drive in 1978 was Community Blood Center’s first college campus blood drive. It became a two-day blood drive in 2007 and remains the biggest blood drive in the region.
This year’s blood drive totaled 428 donors, including 264 first-time donors and 338 donations for 108 percent of the collection goal. Participation was the largest since 2015, and the 338 units collected was a 47 percent increase over last year.
“I am never surprised but always impressed to learn of our students’ service to others,” said Greg. He was out of town during the blood drive but the student donors immediately recognized Renate.
“The Crawfords are very involved,” said Annika Shaffer, a senior from Bryan, Ohio and a member of Zeta Tau Alpha. She chatted with Renate while donating. “They were at the Crop Walk Sunday. They come out to a lot of events and not just Greek Week events.”
A bonus for all the Greeks is being able to earn points toward the overall Greek Week team competition by supporting community service events, including the Crop Walk and blood drive.
“We won the Greek Week competition last year and we’re in the lead now,” said Annika. “I just got an update – we had over 100 people at the Crop Walk and that was the most of everyone.”
“Greek Week is about the participation and getting people involved and active,” said Zoe Philips, a Kappa Delta member who as vice president of programming for the Panhellenic Association is a co-organizer of Greek Week. “To do things for the community: the Greek community as well as the Oxford community.”
Alex Barnett, sophomore Zeta Xau Alpha member donated six times while in high school in Defiance, Ohio. “When I was a junior one of our family friends, he was diagnosed with leukemia and started needing blood so I started donating,” said Alex. “He passed away two years ago. His family donates and is going strong and I kept it up.”
Greg Pope from Urbana explained to Renate, “My girlfriend wanted to me to come along and I said, ‘Why not? I’m helping people.’” “Oh you are,” Renate replied. “It’s a huge chance to make a difference.”
“Both my parents donate blood,” said Shannon Donnelly, a first time donor. “My dad said, ‘There will be cookies afterwards!’ and I said, ‘Perfect.’”
Donating at the 40th Greek Week Blood Drive also gave students the sense that we were adding to Miami’s history.
“It was definitely something people get excited about,” said Zoe Philips. “It goes on every year and is something people care about. Miami students have busy lives, but to take time out to help save three lives is so worthwhile!”
“It’s a great place to be,” said Christine Hughes, an Alpha Chi Omega member from Cleveland. “I love the community here and being part of the Greek life.”