Nebraska’s well-worn platitude about fans bleeding Husker red is taking on a new — literal — definition.
In what is a decades-long homecoming tradition on campus, University of Nebraska–Lincoln students, faculty and staff are taking part in the Cornhusker State’s largest single blood drive. When the last needle is drawn on Sept. 28, the 1,000-plus pints collected will benefit up to 3,000 lives.
“It is incredible how the campus community come together for this blood drive year after year,” said Samantha Pollard, communications manager for the Midwest region of the American Red Cross. “In terms of participation and units donated, it’s easily the biggest blood drive in Nebraska.”
Pollard said the success of the drive is due to the dedication of student volunteers, specifically the university’s student-led Campus Red Cross group.
Along with a variety of other activities, the recognized student organization organizes campus blood drives throughout each academic year. The blood drive work includes lining up room reservations, promoting the events and finding volunteers — many of which are in fraternities and sororities — to assist Red Cross and Nebraska Community Blood Bank workers.
“We have at least 168 volunteers working the blood drive this week alone,” said Kylie Tucker, president of the Red Cross group and a senior biology major from Lincoln. “This is an event we take a lot of pride in and, we do everything we can to help make it a success — from working the registration desk and canteen, to escorting donors to dressing up like the Red Cross’ mascot.”
Tucker, who will be counted among Huskers who donate, knows first-hand the importance of blood donation.
“When I was in high school, I had a blood transfusion due to severe anemia,” Tucker said. “It was a very dramatic experience. It helped me realize that giving blood is a very small task when you consider the impact it can make on the lives of others.”
According to the American Red Cross, a single blood donation can save up to three lives. Donations are used for surgeries, cancer treatments, chronic illnesses and traumatic injuries. And, a pint can be used as whole blood or divided for use as red cells, platelets or plasma.
Donations collected this year will benefit Nebraska along with the nation — especially in areas where shortages have been caused by Hurricane Florence and wildfires.
The homecoming blood drive has also historically drawn a number of first time donors, primarily students.
In the afternoon on Sept. 25, Kappa Delta sorority sisters Anna Drelicharz and Samantha Severin were among the first timers. Both said they wanted to give as high school students, but were unable to work it into class schedules.
“I’m excited to finally be able to donate,” Drelicharz said. “It’s pretty exciting to be a part of this homecoming drive, knowing that my donation is going to be used to possibly save lives.”
The university’s weeklong homecoming blood drive continues with multiple donation sites Sept. 26-28. The schedule is below. Learn more, including how to make a reservation to donate, online.
Nebraska Homecoming 2018 Blood Drive
11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Nebraska Union, Centennial Room
11 a.m. to 5 p.m., University Health Center/College of Nursing, 550 N. 19th St.
- 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Nebraska Union, Centennial Room
- 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., College of Dentistry, East Campus