Clubs on Campus: Red Cross Club Turns Blood Drives Into Competition

Although the Red Cross Club—and its monthly publications posted in bathroom stalls across campus—seem to be ubiquitous, it has not always been so.According to Doug Farquhar PO ’10, the history of the club is a “feel-good story,” a tale of ascension from “humble beginnings.”The founding of what was originally called the “Healthcare Related Community Service Club” was driven by current seniors Farquhar, Katie Soe PO ‘10, and Calvin Kagan PO ‘10. They started the club in January 2008, during their sophomore year.Soe said that the founders intended the club to be a “humanitarian-focused volunteering project that will help someone else.” The aim of the organization was to fill a need for a purposeful pre-health club on campus.“It’s very hard for people that are interested in health care to find opportunities not only to volunteer, but [also] to find opportunities that [they are] actually interested in,” Kagan said. The club’s current name arose from Soe’s high school experience with a Red Cross Club.“Being affiliated with the Red Cross, [we] have a lot more resources,” Soe said. “It’s a more established symbol and people are more willing to donate and work with [us].”But deciding on a name was only one of a long train of obstacles. From the beginning, the club faced issues with recruitment and membership.“We made a huge publicizing push when we first started the club, and a lot of people came in when we made that push,” Farquhar said. “Some of those first meetings, I would call a bunch of friends, or wake them up out of their beds, and get them to come.”The real trouble with membership started last fall.“Half of our friends were abroad…and a lot of the club[‘s members were] our classmates, because it was easier to publicize to them,” Soe said.This year, they no longer face membership issues. There are around 30 active members, many of whom are in leadership positions.“It helps make the club stronger when people are accountable, and are really invested in what they’re doing,” co-president Amanda Koire PO ‘11 said. “It feels like it’s their project too, not just something that they’re taking a backseat to someone else on … This year, there are a lot more members than before, in part due to publicity, maybe a little bit of luck.”The leaders also attribute this year’s success to the rapport they’ve established with the college community.“Once we were around for a couple of years, we started to sound more professional, and people started to pick up on that,” Farquhar said.This is partly due to the assistance they have received from the chemistry department.“Many faculty and staff in the chemistry department have been supportive [of the club],” Professor of Chemistry Daniel O’Leary said in an e-mail to The Student Life. “We’ve either made donations or attended the RCC functions such as their Casino Night or the Die Another Day Dance Measles Away gala. What appeals to me about this group is they actively confront and work to mitigate major public health issues—I’ve always had the sense that a donation to this group is money well spent.”For instance, at the club’s casino night last year, every dealer was a faculty member. This weekend, the club looks forward to hosting a faculty dunk tank at the Rivalry Carnival.The club plans to host five events over the course of semester, including a holiday toy drive, and a fundraising dance and raffle on Nov. 17. The dance will benefit the neonatal care unit of a small hospital in India.“We’ve been very ambitious in what we’ve tried to do,” Farquhar said. “We try and do anything that we can think of that will be interesting.”To increase the appeal of donating blood, the club has turned its blood drive into a competition, pitting CMS against P-P. This year, the Red Cross will provide a large trophy to the winning side.The members said they manage to do these events with a “miniscule” budget of $150 per semester.The leaders are confident in the club’s future.“Everyone is really passionate, and I think that’s what makes the difference,” Koire said. “I’m not worried about people leaving because…we are making a difference, and I think people want to stay involved in that, it’s something they care about.”

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply