On Feb. 12, Taylor University students and members of the surrounding community
came to the Euler atrium to participate in a Red Cross blood drive, one of several which are held on campus every year.
Senior biology major Nate Starcher oversaw the event, as he has supervised blood drives on campus for the last four years, ever since he first got involved as a freshman. After volunteering in his first year, Starcher took over the role of Blood Drive Coordinator from the senior who held the position at the time.
Since then he has been hard at work, coordinating with the Red Cross’ regional manager to plan four drives a year. Starcher’s responsibilities include arranging dates, times, provisions and promotional materials, as well as working registration and assisting the staff at the drives themselves.
“I love to talk to the donors,” Starcher said. “A lot of them have a personal story that drives why they give blood. It’s just a good thing to do, but when you can put a face to it with a story, it gives it a new perspective.”
Since he started helping on the drives, Starcher has seen a significant increase in donors thanks in part, he thinks, to his expanding the use of social media to get word out about the dates and locations. The most recent drive hit its goal, and he says that they plan to set the next bar even higher.
Two Taylor students who have donated blood multiple times are sophomore Lindsay Rice and junior Amanda Hinken. Each of them has donated on five occasions since turning seventeen, the age required by the Red Cross to donate.
Hinken recalls originally volunteering for her first blood drive in high school only as an excuse to get out of class. However, once she got involved, it grew into something she would care deeply about as a way to give generously.
“It’s a great experience and the nurses are always really nice,” said Rice, who also started donating in high school. “Even though you may never meet the person who receives your blood, you can walk away from giving knowing that you’ve contributed to saving lives.”
Starcher hopes that more students will continue to share their personal stories both of giving blood and their connections to those who receive it to further encourage donations. The more people talk about it, he says, the more people will give and the bigger difference can be made.
For Starcher, he also sees a religious prerogative in the act of donating blood. Dwelling upon the symbolism of Jesus shedding his blood for humanity, his donations have been a way for him to serve physically and spiritually, thinking of it as a way to quite literally give oneself up for others.
There will be two more drives this semester, on Thursday, April 16 and on Thursday, May 14.
“Just grab a buddy and go, it only takes thirty minutes,” Starcher said. “Donation levels vary by time of year and with the news. Whenever there’s a natural disaster, such as the hurricane in Puerto Rico, we see record results. It would be cool to see that enthusiasm carried on and for students to keep it in mind even when it’s not in the news.”