Alpha Sigma Nu hosts blood drive


Photo by Nate Lampres

Marquette students filed into Alumni Memorial Union mid-afternoon Nov. 12 for a blood drive hosted by Alpha Sigma Nu, an international honors society on campus, and Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin. The blood drive was only open to students, staff and faculty.
“Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, we have an immediate need for blood donors to ensure a safe supply,” Versiti stated on its website
To incentivize individuals, the drive provided a $10 gift card to those who donated.
Jill Guttormson, an associate professor of nursing, said the number of blood drives and donors have “drastically reduced” during the pandemic.
All of Versiti’s blood supply will be delivered to hospitals across Southeast Wisconsin.
The SARS COV-2 antibody test, often referred to as the “COVID-19 antibody test,” was also performed on individuals as part of the drive’s standardized testing procedures.
“If antibodies are detected, the plasma from that blood is then used to help those with a current infection recover,” Shannon Scalish, a clinical instructor in the College of Nursing, said. “Those recovered from COVID (at least 14-21 days post positive test) can give blood in order to help those with active infection.”
In order to ensure CDC guidelines were met at the drive, individuals had to call or schedule a time slot via the Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin website prior to the event.
Extra precautions were also made to ensure the health and safety of participants.
Kimberly Vanbeek, chapter coordinator for Alpha Sigma Nu, said the drive was held in three different rooms — AMU 252, the Henke Lounge and the Lunda Room — to spread donors and Versiti staff out.
“Alpha Sigma Nu wanted to find a way to best serve the needs of our community in the safest way possible this semester,” Vanbeek said.
However, with Marquette moving from a moderate to high-alert for COVID-19 cases, concerns continue to rise on whether these initiatives will be enough to contain the virus.
Despite this, Scalish said she doesn’t think a blood drive poses more of a risk than the election.
“If proper precautions are taken such as masking up, staying 6 feet apart and washing or sanitizing hands, this has far more value,” Scalish said in an email. 
Vanbeek also assures donors that Marquette drives are held at a high standard in ensuring community safety; Alpha Sigma Nu’s drive is no exception to this rule. 
“Marquette has put on safe, successful blood drives throughout the pandemic, and we wanted to be a part of keeping these drives going,” Vanbeek said. “We are in good hands with Versiti and their staff who are just as concerned for our community’s safety as we are.” 
Encouraging individuals to continue these health-related acts of servitude, Scalish emphasized a quote brought by U.S. surgeon general, Jerome M. Adams.
“You can still go out and give blood. We’re worried about potential blood shortages in the future. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement,” Adams said in a white house press briefing in Mar. 
Although CDC guidelines have strained Alpha Sigma Nu’s ability to put on some of their pre-COVID-19 events, the organization continues to prevail despite an unprecedented climate.
“While certainly social distancing and limitations on numbers of people who can gather together is difficult for us all to plan activities the way we used to.” Vanbeek said. “We have leaned into the service opportunities that are possible that keep participants safe and engaged in meaningful service.”
This story was written by Claire Driscol. She can be reached at