posted 2011-04-06 13:00:42

Blood drive at Hunter exceeds expectations

Hunter students generously gave blood. (Photo: Hubert Szumski/Envoy)
Hunter students generously gave blood. (Photo: Hubert Szumski/Envoy)
Hunter Gives Blood

Blood drive at Hunter exceeds expectations

John Bolger

Staff Writer

Students skipped class for the benefit of mankind late last month to give blood at a two-day collection organized by Hunter's Blue and White Society in conjunction with the New York Blood Center. The blood drive took place on Hunter West's third floor, where each student is said to have saved three lives.

Josue Kersaint, 21, chapter president of the fraternity Phi Beta Sigma – of which the Blue and White Society is affiliated – helped organize the blood drive and called the operation a success.  According to Kersaint, blood type A-, 106 pints were collected on the first day, March 29, and 86 pints were collected the second day.  These figures, he said, exceeded his expectations.

“We had 91 pints at the collection we organized last November,” the psychology major said.  “I'm actually quite proud of the Hunter students coming through today, it shows there is actually some unity in the Hunter community which you don't always see.”

Kersaint said that the most difficult part of organizing the blood drive was spreading the word around campus, a challenge which he said the Undergraduate Student Government eased by helping promote the event with posters and flyers. He also attributed the success of the collection to better usage of the space on Hunter West's third floor.  “We positioned it [the blood drive] differently,” he said. “It allowed us to have more beds and more collection machines.”

Kersaint donated on the first day. It was his seventh time.

According to Sam Phipps, a phlebotomist at last month's collection, the New York Blood Center collected both whole blood and double red blood cells, which would be dispensed to hospitals within three days.  Phipps said that these donations – and donations elsewhere – were especially important at this time because the city has been in a state of heightened blood shortage due to last winter's snow storms, which he said had caused a “critical imbalance.”

He also said he was satisfied with the student turnout.  At times, Phipps said, the line to donate extended outside of the waiting area and into the hall, requiring students to stand.  “Other schools do well,” he said in a relaxed attitude at the end of the day.  “But Hunter this time surprised us all.  We're looking forward to coming back to Hunter and feeling the love soon.”

After donating, students sat at a resting area and shared their thoughts and experiences with giving blood.

Donning a green tourniquet on his right arm, Kenny Mathieu, 19, a sophomore who hasn't declared his major, donated blood on the second day.  He said the reason why he started donating in high school was because New York has been in a state of constant shortage.

“They tell you one pint saves three lives,” Mathieu said, “and I'm able to, so why not?  A person has 12 pints, one pint is not that much.”

Daniel Bishop, 22, a graduate student studying accounting, donated blood for the eighth time.  He said he was influenced to start giving blood by his little sister, who needed a blood transfusion when she was younger.  “It's essential,” Bishop said, “some people really need it, and it's the right thing to do.”

A second-time donor, Felicia Rosenfeld, a 21-year-old nursing student, added, “If I was sick and I needed a transfusion, I would hope and expect others to donate,” Rosenfeld said.  “There's no reason not to donate.”

Pleased with the success of the blood drive, Kersaint said he hoped to organize another one this coming October.  “Anything we can help the community with, we will do it,” he said.  The Blue and White Society has other charitable events in the coming months including a march for babies May 1 and AIDS walk May 15.