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WMU-CMU blood drives held across campus

Oct. 20, 2005

KALAMAZOO--The Greater Kalamazoo Area Chapter of the American Red Cross is playing host to nine blood drives on the Western Michigan University campus this month in a "mini" version of its annual Blood Challenge with Central Michigan University.

The Mini Challenge began Oct. 17 and will run through Oct. 27. WMU had the early lead as of Wednesday, Oct. 19, having collected 118 pints of blood compared to 103 for CMU. The goal is to collect a total of 550 pints of blood at each school.

No appointments are required to participate in the October drives, which are open to students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the University. Those interested have several opportunities to donate blood during the following drives:

Thurs., Oct. 20, 1 to 6:45 p.m., Eicher-Lefevre Halls
Fri., Oct. 21, 11 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Ernest-Burnham Halls
Mon., Oct. 24, 11 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Bernhard Center
Tues., Oct. 25, 1 to 6:45 p.m., French Hall
Wed., Oct. 26, 1 to 6:45 p.m., Bigelow Hall
Thurs., Oct. 27, 1 to 6:45 p.m., Harrison-Stinson Halls

The new Mini Challenge drives are being sponsored by residence hall government councils and other student-led associations. The drives will offer special door prizes, including DVDs, a George Foreman grill and a pre-paid gasoline card. Every person who comes to a drive to give blood will get a ticket for that drive's special door prize, plus a ticket for the grand prize of an Apple iPod mini, for which a drawing will be held at the end of the challenge.

WMU and CMU have partnered with the American Red Cross since 1997 to run Blood Challenge during the weeks leading up to the annual WMU-CMU football game. But this academic year, the full-scale Blood Challenge will take place from Jan. 24 through Feb. 9 and coincide with the two schools' basketball rivalry. The goal then will be to collect 1,000 units of blood per school.

"What we've learned over the years is that having Blood Challenge early in the new academic year makes it much harder to get student groups involved as drive sponsors as well as donors, because they're just getting organized for the year themselves," says Terri Franklin, director of marketing and communications for the local Red Cross chapter. "By shifting the timing of the large challenge to the second semester, we have more time to work with student groups that want to sponsor blood drives and with the businesses or organizations that want to support them.

"But, we also don't want to abandon the campus-based blood drives in the fall, since student donors are so important to the local blood supply," she adds. "Therefore, it made sense to put together a smaller program that could both collect needed blood and serve as a 'training program' for students who want to be involved in the project."

More information is available by writing to broncos@usa.redcross.org or going online to www.givelife.org (use WMU as the code) or www.greaterkzooredcross.org.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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