OXFORD, Ohio - It was part Washington and part Hollywood at Miami University's Tuesday, March 4 blood drive. It had the "lights, camera, action" of a student video project and the "red, white and blue" of the third annual College Republicans vs. the College Democrats Rival Blood Drive.
The politics were lively, but non-confrontational as students arrived at the Shriver Center's Heritage Room. Senior Katey Papin, president of the College Republicans, sat beside senior Max Swartz from the College Democrats. As student-donors checked in they chose a blue or red poker chip to cast their vote before making their donation.
Community Blood Center Account Representative Bill Roy told Katey and Max that the number of registrations for the blood drive is ahead of last year. "I'm glad!" said Katey. "I know people are coming anyway to donate, but it's entertaining. It's fun!"
With no aisle separating the rivals, it was easy to trade good-natured barbs. "We're ahead, I counted them," said Katey. "There's a lot of uncertainty about that count!" Max joked. "I think some are too intimidated to vote!" "No arguments," said Katey. "We've been bi-partisan!"
There was no disputing the strong support for the Rival Blood Drive. In the end, 116 registered to donate, including 56 first-time donors, and resulted in 80 blood donations for 117% of the collection goal.
In the donor area junior Kelly Stincer was busy with lighting, video camera and cue cards. Kelly served as blood drive coordinator for CBC's popular two-day Miami University Greek Week Blood Drive in the fall, the biggest blood drive of the year in CBC's 15-county service area. She chose CBC and blood donations as the subject of a 30 second commercial she was assigned to make for a marketing class project.
"I was talking to Bill about Greek Week and how I kind of wanted to do something you guys could use and I could enjoy doing," she said. "I love helping you guys with the Greek Week Blood Drive and how much people get out of giving blood. The blood drive is a good way to give back, and hopefully next year at Greek Week we'll have even more people donating."
Her plan is to film at least seven people at the blood drive holding signs that explain why they donate. She recruited two special friends for the project, including sorority sister Jenna Pilipovich, a cancer survivor.
"She had bone cancer when she was seven years old and received blood transfusions," said Kelly. "Her sign says, 'I survived cancer because of blood donations.'" Kelly touches on another serious theme with a friend who holds up a sign with a photo of a young boy that says, "I gave because it gave him one more Christmas."
"A friend's son had a rare disease," she explained. "He got a blood donation that helped him hold on, and he passed three days after Christmas, so at least he got one more."
There are lighter notes in the project, and she recruited student donors at the drive to be the card holders. Freshman Charles Ernst held a sign that says, "I helped save three lives." Charles first donated in high school back in Chesterland, OH. "I like that I'm saving three lives," he said. "It also gives me a break from the homework I'm usually doing at this time! It gives me something different. You could say I'm a procrastinator donor!"
Kelsey Owens, a freshman from Bakersville, CA, chatted about the cold Ohio winter as she made her first donations since high school. "I visited Miami and of course I loved the campus," she said. "I do kind of miss the warm temperatures in California, but I knew what I was getting into!"
She also knew what to expect from donating blood. "I like knowing I could do something." Kelly chose Kelsey to be in the video playfully showing off her donor-bandaged arm and holding a sign that says, "Because I burned 650 calories."
Kelly then recruited Kyle Shaw, a second-time donor from Beavercreek, to hold one of her favorite signs, the one that reads, because I'm not a wimp." For this part, Kyle got some special direction from Kelly. "Close your eyes and look down," she coached him. "Then look up with like, 'I'm a man!'"
Kyle was perfect on the first take, and that was a wrap for Kelsey and her project. She's hoping for a good grade in the class, and the chance to recruit more Miami University blood donors.