From Tuesday, Jan. 31 through Thursday, Feb. 2, Carleton students lined up in the Great Hall to participate in Carleton’s Winter Term blood drive. The blood drives, which occur once per term, are a student-led volunteer program supported by the Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE) along with the American Red Cross.
Blood donors arrived at the Great Hall for their appointments, in which Red Cross workers collected pints of blood to send to Red Cross centers for later distribution to people in need of transfusions. Behind the scenes, Carleton volunteers, including students who don’t donate blood or want to get involved in additional ways, helped check-in donors and stocked food and water to help donors recover after donating.
Beyond those who signed up to be volunteers, the Carleton blood drive program directors served as a bridge between the Red Cross and Carleton students looking to donate, ensuring the Red Cross could set up their equipment in the Great Hall and working with Bon Appetit to provide food for donors. Erica Zweifel, Assistant Director for Community Impact at the CCCE, attributes the blood drive’s success to students, many of whom go on to work in the medical field.
“The students do a fantastic job running the blood drive,” Zweifel said. “They recruit volunteers to staff the drive, volunteers to donate blood, organize food and help create an inclusive space where first time donors feel comfortable.”
According to blood drive program director Nithin Poreddy ’25, Carleton students are often already inclined to donate, and the blood drive simply provides a convenient opportunity.
“I think students here are pretty proactive and want to help out the community[…],” Poreddy said. “We have the people here that want to donate blood, who want to provide a necessary resource. Because we know there is a lack.”
According to the Red Cross 29,000 units of red blood cells are needed everyday in the United States. Complications due to weather and illness lead to more blood drive cancellations in the winter, making the Winter Term blood drive especially helpful.
Blood donor Margaret Tiennot ’26 stressed how the opportunity to give back impacted her decision to give blood. According to Tiennont, the convenience of having the blood drive at Carleton made the process of helping others simple.
“I think it’s a really easy way to give back,” Tiennot said. “It doesn’t take that much time and people need blood, so it’s really easy to do.”
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