Missouri S&T students are already known for their excellence in academics, but according to the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (CBCO), they are also top of the class in terms of giving back to the community. 

Missouri S&T students are already known for their excellence in academics, but according to the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (CBCO), they are also top of the class in terms of giving back to the community.

The CBCO hosts five blood drives on the Missouri S&T campus each year, four during the school year and one over the summer. As their first blood drive of the semester is underway, Chris Pilgrim from CBCO, said the students from Missouri S&T continue to prove to be their major source of donations.

“Maybe they’re just more in tune with what’s going on, maybe their willingness to help is greater than in other places. We’re just so appreciative,” he said. “This wonderful activity is going on better and with more frequency here than anywhere else in our region.”

Pilgrim explained that it takes 220 blood donations every day for the CBCO to meet just one day’s needs, as they serve 40 different hospitals in their region, which includes Phelps County Regional Medical Center.  Pilgrim said they will get close to that number during a single day at one Missouri S&T’s blood drives, and having a high turnout for this blood drive is especially important before a long holiday weekend.

“When we need 220 donations of blood each day, a couple of off days can really set us back,” he said, explaining how the drive being held in the Havener Center is important way to replenish their stock.

“The fact we can come in here for four days and count on that many donations each day is just an incredible thing,” he said.

Lisa Medley, a blood drive consultant working at this semester’s blood drive said their goal for the drive is to reach a total of 650 donations over four days. She broke this down into 150 donations on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and a boosted 175 donations on Friday. She echoed Pilgrim’s statement that the holiday weekend represents a loss of collection time.

“Our inventory has been kind of tight,” she said. “So this is really an important drive to get those stores built back up.”

Medley added her own appreciation for the students of Missouri S&T, who go out of their way to help the CBCO get the blood they need to replenish their stock, which “has been kind of tight,” according to her.

“We started out with a great week,” she said. “This is a great way to kick off the academic year. The students here are so supportive and wonderful. I always see the same faces, they come in as Freshmen and they’ve given a gallon or two by the time they’re graduated.”

Medley stated that high school and college drives account for 30% of the total collections they obtain, and S&T students donate between 2000-2400 units each year to help patients in the community.

“We’re the local provider of blood to area hospitals, so whenever you’re giving t us, you’re giving to Phelps County,” she said. “That’s important to us.”

The CBCO is also part of a network of independent blood centers, helping them get blood to where it’s needed. Because of this network, they were able to send blood units to the relief effort in Houston TX, in response to the recent hurricane. Medley said they were able to donate 50 units, and hope to donate another 50 units soon, thanks to the efforts of the community.

“They (Houston) probably won’t be able to have any blood drives this week, probably next week either,” she said. “It’s going to be a rebuilding process for them.”

The CBCO is able to collect plasma as well during their drives, to help trauma and burn victims, and can use a special machine to extract double red blood cell donations, allowing eligible donors to double their contributions. Staff members a the drive will be able to tell if a donor is eligible.

Medley and the rest of the CBCO staff welcome and encourage community members to donate while they are set up at Missouri S&T as well, as the drive is open to more than just students.

Each drive throughout the year is sponsored by the Missouri S&T student council, as well as co-sponsored by different organizations on campus. The current blood drive is co-sponsored by greek life on campus, rewarding students who stop by and give back to their community. The next CBCO blood drive is scheduled for November.