BY CJ GIBSON
Every semester, FHSU’s Alpha Kappa Psi – Zeta Pi chapter holds a blood donation drive in association with the Red Cross. This year, while COVID-19 adjusted the biannual tradition, the fraternity was still able to hold the event.
Last spring, Zeta Pi’s blood drive was shut down as a result of the pandemic. This time, the drive was moved from its regular location in the Memorial Union Ballroom to the Black and Gold Room. The drive usually lasts two days, but it was expanded to three days, Oct 5-7, to account for the limited amount of people donating at the same time. In the room, chairs were placed six feet apart and there were no tables for donors to recover at to prevent socializing after their donations.
Each blood donation is tested for COVID-19 antibodies, which can tell the donor whether or not they have previously contracted COVID-19.
Zeta Pi’s blood drive is one of the ways that its members can volunteer to help their community.
“We’re a business fraternity built on philanthropic opportunities…Our brotherhood is kind of known for giving community service,” Zeta Pi member Mallory Milstead said. “We’re technically required to meet a certain amount of hours, but we have a lot of members that actually exceed those hours just because we like to be involved in the community and get them involved in what we’re doing as well.”
While Milstead was only volunteering during this blood drive, she has been an active donor for a few years.
“You don’t realize how impactful one pint of blood actually is until you hear everything that comes behind it. That’s why we do what we do,” Milstead said. “I’ve been doing this blood drive for four years now and I absolutely love assisting in any way I can, even if I can’t donate this time.”
Blood donors participated in whole blood, plasma, platelet, or “Power Red” donations. Power Red donations are a process in which two units of red blood cells can be donated in one session while the plasma and platelets are returned to the donor. Milstead says she is a Power Red donor because her blood type helps save babies.
Zeta Pi’s blood drive is a part of a competition with Kansas State University and Emporia State University to see which school can raise the highest number of donations for the Red Cross.
The results of this Blood Drive competition have yet to be announced. There is no reward to the winning Alpha Kappa Psi chapter, only, as Milstead says, “the satisfaction of saving lives.”
While demand for many resources has decreased as a result of the pandemic, blood transfusions remain essential. The opportunity to help Zeta Pi has passed, but anyone eligible can donate every three months at the Red Cross Blood Donation Center at 208 E 8th St in Hays by scheduling an appointment at redcrossblood.org.