This week, Yale will defend its four-year winning streak in the annual Harvard-Yale blood drive.
This year’s drive is taking place in the Parish House at 311 Temple St. The event, hosted by the American Red Cross at Yale, encourages participation from students, faculty and staff, as well as people from the New Haven community. Yale is taking donations throughout the week, and Harvard’s drive is scheduled to take place in early February.
“This is the 11th year we’ve had this Harvard-Yale competition,” said James Mandilk LAW ’17, one of the blood drive’s head organizers. “I think the rivalry is a really good method to motivate students, and it’s our largest drive of the year by a significant margin.”
Yale has won seven of the 10 competitions so far, including the past four. Each year, the college with the most successful blood drive gets its name inscribed on a traveling trophy, which resides in the respective dean’s office.
Katherine Bollag ’16, co-president of the American Red Cross at Yale, said an estimated 300 donors are expected to give blood at Yale this year. She added that the final number may be higher because, in addition to scheduling appointments, the drive also receives a significant number of walk-ins.
Mandilk said winter weather often decreases the number of people willing to donate blood, especially for those who have to drive to a donation center. Unfortunately, he added, more blood is needed in the winter than in any other season because severe weather conditions can cause accidents that require emergency blood transfusions. Each blood donation could save up to three lives, he said.
Though this year’s blood drive was originally scheduled to take place over four days, donations had to be canceled on Tuesday due to the inclement weather. Mandilk said the same situation occurred in 2011, when a blizzard forced the blood drive to cancel one day.
“After the blizzard, though, students came out in force,” he said. “[Former Yale College Dean Mary] Miller sent out an email encouraging people to donate, and we rescheduled a lot of the canceled appointments.”
The drive is still scheduled to continue as normal on Wednesday and Thursday and is currently being advertised through flyers around campus and sign-up tables set up in residential colleges.
“I think that our organization has really seen beneficial changes within the past few years,” said Angela Chen ’16, the other co-president of the American Red Cross at Yale. “We have a consistent core of dedicated members who are all passionate about giving back to the community, and we are constantly welcoming new members.”
She added that the Connecticut American Red Cross has also been extremely supportive and accessible, making Yale’s organization better equipped to take on large-scale endeavors.
Christine Xu ’18 said she would like to receive more information on the process before deciding to donate.
Kai DeBus ’18, who could not attend his Tuesday appointment because of the snow, said he may reschedule to donate later this week.
Blood transfusions are most commonly needed for accidents, surgeries and organ transplants. All blood donated at the Harvard-Yale blood drive will be sent to an American Red Cross facility, where it will be separated into red cells, white cells, plasma and platelets before being shipped to local hospitals.