Each year members of the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State/PSU) American Red Cross Club organize blood drives to correspond with the seasons. Called the “PSU-MSU Challenge,” the autumn/Thanksgiving blood drives pit students from Penn State University against students at their rival school, Michigan State University.
Penn State blood donors take the “PSU-MSU Challenge,” attempting to “out collect” their rival, Michigan State University, in a friendly competition with the ultimate goal of ensuring an adequate blood supply during the holidays.
(Photo Credit: Toni Lynn Gibson/American Red Cross)
Part of the recruitment effort behind the blood drives is for each college to try to collect more blood than their rival. Although positioned as a competitive “challenge,” the club’s ultimate goal is to help ensure an adequate blood supply during the holidays.
Does the Penn State-Michigan State rivalry work? You bet. Between the two schools, nearly 3,500 units are collected annually.
It’s a good thing too since every two seconds someone in America needs blood, but only five percent of the eligible U.S. population donates blood in any given year. And, there is no substitute for human blood. The Red Cross collects nearly half (45 percent) of the nation's blood supply, providing more than 14 million blood products to some 3,000 hospitals nationwide.
The holiday season, which begins around Halloween and continues through January, typically sees a drop in blood donations as potential donors begin holiday traveling and their schedules quickly fill up with events and celebrations.
Making a donation is quick and easy—taking about an hour—and a single blood donation can help up to three people. To be eligible to donate blood, an individual needs to be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in general good health. To learn more about blood donations, visit GiveLife.org.
The Penn State Red Cross Club “PSU-MSU Challenge” is one of four winners in the 2006 American Red Cross National Youth Involvement Month contest. The club is affiliated with the Centre Communities Chapter in State College, Pennsylvania.
David Richardson is a member of the American Red Cross National Youth Council and Toni Lynn Gibson is president of the Red Cross Campus Club in affiliation with the Centre Communities Chapter in State Collage, Penn.