The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

Students driving force behind blood donations

By in News
Every year more than one million units of blood are donated by Canadians.
Every year more than one million units of blood are donated by Canadians.

SASKATOON (CUP) — Blood donation clinics on campuses across Canada are key opportunities for students, faculty and staff members to start or continue their donations.

The Canadian Blood Services reports an estimated 11,000 donors attending clinics that are held on campuses, representing about 17,000 donations each year. Although these numbers appear to be quite generous, they are humbled by the average of one million donations CBS receives every year.

Donation clinics on campuses are cited by CBS as being a good source for new, young donors. About five per cent of all new donors are recruited on university campuses.

Of all the clinic events held across Canada each year, clinics on campuses account for approximately 1.5 per cent. This is attributed to the small number of clinics held on campuses during the summer months.

CBS reports that about 85 per cent of all university donors are under 29 years of age, representing a strong student-donor demographic. However, not all donors on campuses are students.

Approximately 60 per cent of donors on campuses are female.

To provide blood donation clinics to its campus community, the University of Lethbridge has teamed up with the CBS to provide a “Life Bus” that shuttles donors from the university to CBS and back. Donors can reserve their spot on the bus or simply show up when the bus is scheduled to depart.

U of L faculty member Patti Leeb has partnered with Professor Carla Carnaghan to help organize the Life Bus.

The Life Bus will be running at the U of L on Oct. 8 and 22.

Organizations, workplaces and schools can become Partners for Life with CBS. As a partner, groups have donors register as their members and each donation is contributed to the partner’s goal.

Leeb registered the U of L as a partner with CBS last year. The university’s goal for 2013 is to have 300 units of blood donated.

“We really surpassed our goal last year so we decided to increase it,” Leeb said.

CBS also holds What’s Your Type? events where anyone can have their blood type determined with just the prick of a finger.

Leeb said the U of L tries to host What’s Your Type? events to help promote blood donations among the younger demographics on campus.

Despite the presence CBS has on campus, Leeb said it is often harder to generate interest among students because of their busy schedules.

“We haven’t had as much luck getting the students involved as we have with the staff and faculty,” Leeb said.

The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Students’ Association has organized a blood drive on their main campus with one day-long clinic held in both October and November of this year and in January and March of 2014.

The University of Alberta is home to the Blood Awareness and Donation Students Association, a student group that promotes blood donations among university demographics. BADSA also hosts What’s Your Type? events.

Universities, colleges and technical campuses in Alberta participate each year in the Blood 101 challenge put on by CBS. The event takes place annually from January to March and challenges campuses to get as many donations as possible. The donations are tallied through Partners for Life.

Photo: Canadian Blood Services

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