In the Big Red Buses nestled between Bradley Tower and the Graf Clinic, Pensacola Christian College students and faculty were making a difference in others’ lives. Some students waiting their turn studied for upcoming tests while others struck up friendly conversations with fellow donors and OneBlood staff. It may not have been at the forefront of each donor’s mind, but the few moments they spent at the Blood Drive could offer patients a chance at years to come.
During each semester since 1996, PCC and OneBlood partner for an event that allows students to give back to the community. As one of OneBlood’s biggest donation events in Florida, PCC students, staff, and faculty give the highest volume for a three-day donation drive.
Over the years, the event has become part of PCC culture, one where students embrace the Four Pillars of Panhellenic. “The Blood Drive helps bring Unity through the opportunity to give all students a chance to come together as one student body in the direction of one goal,” said Bryan Paul (Jr., NC). “It gives leaders or potential leaders the opportunity to be examples and push others to get involved. When it comes to Service, there is no better opportunity to serve. I believe that donating blood is a great way to get involved in serving and genuinely helping someone else, expecting to get nothing in return.”
Students who volunteer to donate also engage in friendly competition between collegians, earning points by volunteering to assist at the Blood Drive or working to out-donate the other men’s and women’s collegians. “This really is a collegian event at the end of the day,” said Emily Freeman, Student Events and Collegian Coordinator in Student Activities. “They volunteer and earn points for volunteering, and there is pride in them giving the most blood. This year the winners will receive extra funds for a Unity outing.”
Having been anemic since childhood, Maddie Alcorn (Jr., TN) understands the importance of the Blood Drive and encourages others who can donate to participate. “If you can give blood, do it!” she said. “With the blood shortage, it is so helpful to those who run the drive that we are willing to give and help those that we can. Our donations will be able to help those who cannot supply the blood their body needs.”
“The students at PCC are not only playing an important role in ensuring a ready blood supply today, but they are also the future of the blood supply,” said Susan Forbes, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Relations at OneBlood. “They are the next generation of blood donors.”
This year, the Blood Drive received 811 blood units, with each unit potentially saving up to three lives. The donations taken are tested and processed overnight. Within two to three days, most donations are sent to a hospital to help patients in need. “The turnaround is quick, and it’s why a sustained donor response is needed. It’s the only way to ensure a ready blood supply is available at all times,” Forbes explained. “The students at Pensacola Christian College are playing a significant role to help save lives. They turn out in force each and every time the Big Red Bus rolls up on campus, and it’s really great to see that. We are grateful for their support and commitment to saving lives.”
After taking a pause in their day, these “silent heroes” were glad to have an additional opportunity to give back to the community. “The Blood Drive gives us another opportunity to get involved and serve,” said Bryan Paul.