The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

Blood Shortage Moves Student to Organize Blood Drive

Sivani Arvapalli ’26
Sivani Arvapalli ’26 registers students for the Blood Drive in the Benjamin Mays Center.

Students filed into Benjamin Mays Center to donate blood at the American Red Cross Blood Drive on Feb. 5. Sivani Arvapalli ’26 organized the drive to benefit the Lewiston community.

Faculty, staff and students comprised the 55 donors who signed up for the drive. According to Arvapalli, 90% of volunteers were first-time donors. 

Arvapalli was moved by the Oct. 25 Lewiston shootings to organize the drive. Wanting to help her community in the wake of the tragedy, Arvapalli hoped to donate blood herself. However, she found that blood donation centers were booked in the two weeks following the shooting. 

“I was like: this is a great thing, but I still wanted to help out somehow. So, I reached out to the American Red Cross and I was trying to have a blood drive on campus so that students on campus could also help out the community. Especially with the blood shortage, it was something that we could do,” Arvapalli said. 

The drive occurred in the midst of a nationwide blood shortage. According to their website, the American Red Cross canceled over 530 blood drives in January due to Winter storms. The unexpected storms, compounded with the existing emergency blood shortage and regular seasonal illnesses, have created a critical situation for the organization and hospitals across the country.

The Harward Center and the Public Health Initiative, among other clubs, organizations and friends on campus helped Arvapalli to bake cookies and brownies for the event, spread the word and put the drive together. 

According to Arvapalli, who has been planning the drive since November, the hardest part of the organization was recruiting donors. She wanted the drive to be a student-led  community impact event. 

Student reception to the opportunity was enthusiastic. For Jamie Shelton ‘27, this was their first time donating blood. “It was really good. I get pretty nervous around hospital stuff; like doctors, appointments, anything. But, other than my nervousness, it was really great; everything went really smoothly,” Shelton said. 

When asked about their motivation to donate, Shelton answered, “I know it’s really important, and I have to say, the convenience of the blood drive here made it really easy to just sign up and donate.”

Aislinn Carty ‘24 was motivated to donate by her anatomy professor. According to Carty, Professor Salazar-Perea encouraged the class to go to the drive, saying, “You guys better go donate your blood!”

Other students, who weren’t eligible to donate, were still able to help out as volunteers. Hana Roggendorf ‘27 helped to welcome donors into the space, ensured they were hydrated and full and helped monitor donors after the procedure. 

“It’s been really great volunteering. It’s been a really chill atmosphere. I think everyone giving blood–they’re in really capable hands–and it feels like a nice thing to see everyone come together to do something that’s really great,” Roggendorf added.

To express her gratitude for all who participated in the drive, Arvapalli wrote handwritten thank you notes. “I just felt grateful for everyone donating, volunteering, and the workers that are helping out through the American Red Cross today. So I wrote cards for everyone,” she said. 

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About the Contributor
Trinity Poon, Managing News Editor
Trinity is a sophomore from Sandwich, MA with a double major in English and French. She has been writing for The Student since the Fall of her first-year. She is a member of the Women's Ultimate Frisbee team, Cold Front, and plays the trumpet at Bates. When she is not writing and tossing disks, Trinity enjoys reading, running and spending time outdoors. 

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