VPB Homecoming Committee holds Homecoming Blood Drive

Participants received free blood testing, a t-shirt and gift cards.

A sign outside of the Kissam Center advertising the Homecoming Blood Drive

Mae Monette

A sign outside of the Kissam Center advertising the Homecoming Blood Drive, as photographed on Oct. 21, 2021. (Hustler Staff/Mae Monette)

Mae Monette, Staff Writer

On Oct. 21 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT, Vanderbilt Programming Board’s (VPB) Homecoming Committee held a blood drive with the American Red Cross in the Kissam Multi-Purpose Room for Homecoming Week

Per sophomore VPB Homecoming Committee member Xianduo Chao, a total of 62 people registered to donate for the blood drive, not including walk-ins. Zen McGee, also a sophomore member of the VPB Homecoming Committee, said all donors received free blood testing by the Red Cross. This includes Blood Type/Rh Testing and Infectious Disease Testing. All donations from self-identified Black donors also received screening for the sickle cell trait.

“Not only is it [the blood drive] helping people that need these blood transfers, but also you can find out about your own health through the event,” McGee said. “It is mutually beneficial for anybody involved.”

McGee said other incentives for participants in the blood drive included $30 each in gift cards and a free t-shirt.

Senior Elissa Koh, who donated blood, said she participates in blood drives when possible and was involved in her high school’s Red Cross club. Koh said she appreciates that the blood drive was on campus as it was accessible for Vanderbilt students. She also thought the event was well advertised with emails, flyers and incentives. 

graphic reading "Yesterday, Vanderbilt students saved 153 lives by donating blood."
Screenshot of an Instagram post by VPB thanking the blood drive participants. (Hustler Staff/Katherine Oung) (Katherine Oung)

Co-chair of the VPB Homecoming Committee Stephania Stavropoulos said this event was the VPB’s 36th blood drive and that the committee is very passionate about the cause. Per Stavropoulos, the blood drive was especially important this semester as the Red Cross is experiencing an emergency blood shortage due to COVID-19.

“When we were deciding each day’s theme for Homecoming Week, we went through a lot of different options in terms of what was feasible to work within COVID restrictions, within our time constraint and university policies,” Stavropoulos said. “A lot of things came in and out, but the blood drive was very constant because we wanted to make it a top priority.”

Stavropoulos said the blood drive was open to anyone who wanted to participate, although alumni were not formally invited to campus this year for Homecoming Week due to COVID-19 restrictions. Stavropoulos said she and the Homecoming Committee are grateful for the participants in the blood drive, who helped collect six gallons of blood and save 153 lives, per an Instagram post by VPB.  

“If we are healthy and able to give back, if it takes 15 or 20 minutes, we have no idea the impact and reach that it can have,” Stavropoulos said. “I think it is really cool to stop and do something for ourselves, do something for our community and keep in mind moving forward that little things make a big difference.”