Blood shortages are not uncommon. Still, during a global pandemic, donating blood is especially urgent and important. Nicole Kauffman knows. The Illinois senior studies animal sciences in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) and serves as secretary of the registered student organization, the Blood Club.
“Donating blood goes to a lot more than what people think. Cancer patients and even elective surgeries all have needs for blood,” Kauffman says.
The Blood Club is teaming up with Community Blood Services of Illinois (CBSI) to help get more blood donations in and around Champaign-Urbana. Any blood donated through the University of Illinois stays in the community.
Donating blood through the Blood Club is a great way to give back and potentially save a fellow Illini in need, Kauffman says. Plus, it’s a prime example of how ACES students in a variety of majors focus on making a difference in the world around them – not just in their future careers but in their free time, as well. To learn more about animal sciences and a host of other More Than Meets The I majors in ACES, visit the Welcome, Future Students page.
“Student involvement with registered student organizations is a vital component of the undergraduate college experience,” says Nick Wherley, coordinator of agriculture outreach and recruitment. “It allows our young people to capture additional skills through their dedication and diligence to a mission that will benefit them when entering the workforce.”
Kauffman, who grew up in Waterman, a small town outside of Dekalb, plans to attend graduate school and become a wildlife biologist.
She knows some students get nervous about donating blood.
“The people taking your blood are always so nice and checking in on you throughout the process. It doesn’t hurt that bad, and my best advice is to just stay hydrated,” Kauffman says.
The process only takes about 10 minutes, and most students are eligible to donate blood. Requirements include being over 110 pounds, 18 years or older, and in good health when donating.
Students can donate at a number of convenient places on campus, including the Illini Union and at different dorms. Use bloodcenter.org/illini to sign up for times to donate. During COVID-19, students still can safely donate blood by following a few extra precautions, such as signing up for a time slot online.
“We’re really fortunate to have so many people working on this and having so many great volunteers who donate. It’s inspiring to see people care and be passionate about helping other people. Blood Club has this connecting factor because blood is universal,” Kauffman says.
In her years of being a member of this organization, Kauffman says more people are donating every year. She remains optimistic this will ring true for the 2020-2021 school year as well.