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  • Writer's picturePAYTON HEBERT & OWEN KWET

Blood Drive has A-positive impact

Ashley Gochinski gives a thumbs-up as she prepares to donate blood. Photo courtesy of Owen Kwet

Lasell University’s Psi Chi chapter hosted a blood drive in DeWitt Hall last month, which provided an opportunity for staff and students to donate blood. 

On February 29, Lasell University’s philanthropic organization Psi Chi took advantage of the extra day and coordinated a blood drive with the American Red Cross. There were around 43 presenting donors between students and staff members. Those who were able to donate blood will aid in the combat of blood shortages hospitals around the country are facing. Psi Chi president and senior Julia Ramza led and organized the event to give back to the community, which is one of the chapter’s values.

“I wanted to give back to the community, and I decided to partner with the American Red Cross of Massachusetts and do a blood drive,” Ramza said. 

Junior psychology student and secretary of Psi Chi Lauren Pelletier said that the blood donated through the blood drive serves an important purpose for hospitals around the country. 

“Blood drives are incredibly important for hospitals! One of the most common uses of blood in hospitals is for blood transfusions. During surgeries, accidents, or childbirth where someone loses a lot of blood, blood taken from healthy individuals at drives is given to them for their body to function properly,” said Pelletier. 

Organizations like the American Red Cross have received controversy in the past for placing restrictions on the people who can donate blood, specifically the LGTBQ+ community. As of August 2023, the American Red Cross updated its eligibility so that sexual orientation cannot impact a person’s ability to donate blood. Pelletier said that although some people may not want to donate to the organization because of these controversies, there are other factors important to consider. 

“While I can certainly understand any apprehension considering the historically bigoted donation requirements from the Red Cross and other organizations, it could one day be you or a loved one that needs a blood transfusion,” said Pelletier, “Most of us have plenty of it, and we can always make more! Support all of your local drives, and absolutely continue to be vocal about the past bigotry of blood banks. We can still do good while recognizing the wrongs.”

Sarah Gonzalez preparing to have blood drawn. Photo courtesy of Owen Kwet.

The original goal was 30 units, which was surpassed with 36 eligible donations, a number Pelletier was satisfied with. 

“While those numbers seem low, this is actually a lot of people for a blood drive. The average number of units collected at Lasell blood drives is about 32, so we did a good job,” said Pelletier. 

The blood drive is only an example of the impact Psi Chi is looking to have on campus. Last semester, the chapter participated in a walk hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association of Massachusetts to raise awareness of the disease. They have also hosted campus events such as a Western-themed trivia night, athlete mental health tabling, and other fundraisers. 

Ramza also says the organization is looking into hosting a luau on campus to bring the community together while educating the student body about cultural appropriation. The group has plans for an Italian-themed fundraiser featuring a pasta dinner and several other tabling events and collaborations with other campus groups such as Campus Activities Board. 

The university’s Psi Chi chapter has received a model chapter award for its philanthropic efforts in 2021-22, a feat Ramza is striving for again this year. 

“You know, the work that we’re doing together and all of the good that we can give back to the community is what I wanted Psi Chi to be about this year. And our work, hopefully, will be recognized in this year’s model chapter award,” said Ramza, “[Psi Chi] is doing a lot this year and I, as the leader of this group, I am so grateful for all of the members I have on my team.”


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