Blood center in need

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Student organizations at Marquette that have run recent blood drives said Wednesday they're dismayed with the relatively low turnout.

For example, the blood drive sponsored Monday by the National Residence Hall Honorary fell short of expectations, according to Todd Abner, the director of donor recruitment for the Blood Center of Southeastern Wisconsin. A blood drive planned for Dec. 8, which is sponsored by the Evans Scholars, has only 10 donors signed up so far, according to Rachel Debelak, a senior and intern at the Blood Center who organizes the drives on campus.

"We're not quite sure exactly why turnout has been a little less than some of our recent Marquette blood drives, but certainly with the drive that we had earlier this week, we do realize that we're in the thick of term papers and semester exams, so it would be understood if some of the students were diverted from their current activities," said Abner, adding that exact figures on drive turnout were not available.

Debelak suggested another possibility for the downturn.

"A lot of times, maybe (students) are inundated with various requests for donations and service projects, and they get overwhelmed," she said. She also said that a fear of the process of giving blood had probably reduced the number of donors.

However, she said that the information about giving blood was available, since mailbox stuffers, tables outside of residence hall cafeterias and tables in the Alumni Memorial Union, among other things, have been used to spread the word about donating blood. Despite the downturn in the number of donors at a particular drive, there had been a net increase of donations from the Marquette campus. Abner said that this was a good sign, considering that the blood center's number of donations was down 15 percent from this point in 2002. Despite the low turnouts for each drive, there have actually been more drives held on campus this year than last year, Abner said.

Abner said that one explanation for the reduced number of donors at drives could be students going to the blood center themselves, instead of waiting for a blood drive.

"In the last two months Marquette students have been wonderful about coming over to the donor center to donate blood when there's been a high demand and a short blood supply, and that may had some effect on our turnout," Abner said.

According to Abner, the blood center is looking at data and trying to analyze it to see how they could improve turnout at Marquette blood drives.

Collecting blood is very important at this part of the year because of the need to be prepared for accidents over the holidays, as well as a traditionally increased need of blood in January, according to Abner, who said that he was confident that the numbers of donors would rise.

"Marquette students have been great blood donors for us," he said. "But we've got to educate our college students and have them step up to the plate."

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