Yale defeats Harvard in blood drive contest

Yale emerged victorious after hundreds of pints of blood flowed during its latest showdown with Harvard.

In the first Yale-Harvard blood drive, Yale’s total of 314 pints of blood collected in a four-day period was enough to beat Harvard’s total of 250 pints. With 564 pints of blood collected between the two schools, the amount of blood collected this year far surpassed that of any blood drives in previous years, said Jenny Zhang ’06, president of the American Red Cross at Yale.

“There were a lot of people who were unable to give blood and couldn’t do it for various reasons but still volunteered their time,” Zhang said. “It was really a tremendous effort on everybody’s part. Congratulations to Harvard; obviously they didn’t do as well as we did, but they were still amazing.”

The calculation of the winner took into account many factors including student population, the number of students who were eligible to donate blood and the number of volunteers helping to take blood. While Harvard had a larger number of volunteers working to help take blood, Yale beat Harvard in the amount of blood collected, as well as the number of new donors.

Harvard’s three-day drive ended last Friday, a few days after Yale’s drive ended. Leaders of the blood drive effort at Harvard said they also saw an increase in the amount of blood donated from past years.

“Harvard-Yale competition definitely attracted more people that have donated before but haven’t recently,” said Harvard junior Trish Raciti, a co-director of the Harvard Blood Drive. “In terms of publicity and giving campus a buzz, it definitely did a lot. It definitely didn’t harm us.”

Although the directors of the Harvard Blood Drive said the recent start of the spring semester might have prevented some students from donating blood, they said they were still very pleased with the results of the blood drive. They also said that the one extra day Yale had to collect blood might have affected the outcome.

“We would have liked to win, but the goal is to just to build off of competitive spirit for the larger goal of collecting blood,” Raciti said. “No matter who won, the schools together achieved that goal.”

At Yale, the event was heavily publicized during the weeks preceding the drive, Zhang said, with local television stations covering the event and blood drive representatives advertising the competition in dining halls. Zhang attributed the success of the drive to the extensive publicity.

“The Harvard-Yale aspect did goad some people into donating blood, but overall it was just very well publicized,” she said.

Govind Rangrass ’08 who gave blood, said he thought the competitive twist increased interest.

“The Red Cross Yale-Harvard Blood Drive Challenge was a great way to engage the Yale community and keep the Yale-Harvard rivalry alive,” Rangrass said.

The next Yale-Harvard blood drive will take place in April 2006, and the directors of the blood drive said they hope to make the competition into an annual event.

Harvard, as the losing school, will place a quarter-page advertisement in the Yale Daily News congratulating Yale on its victory, Zhang said.

A student participates in a blood drive last month at the Yale Medical School. Largely because of a large publicity campaign, Yale topped Harvard in a blood drive last week in which the two schools competed over who could collect more blood. The drive netted 564 pints of blood between the schools.
Aya Osuga
A student participates in a blood drive last month at the Yale Medical School. Largely because of a large publicity campaign, Yale topped Harvard in a blood drive last week in which the two schools competed over who could collect more blood. The drive netted 564 pints of blood between the schools.

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