Bloodanooga Makes Comeback After Covid-19 Causes Delay

By Lorena Grajales, News Editor-

Tennessee’s largest college campus blood drive took place for the first time ever off UTC’s campus with Blood Assurance, a regional non-profit blood center, after Covid-19 prolonged its occurrence.

The Bloodanooga drive was initially scheduled for Oct. 14 and 15 in the University Center but was later rescheduled to the week of Nov. 9 due to Covid-19 restrictions concerning off campus organizations. Donors were asked to schedule an appointment ahead of time, as opposed to the walk-in opportunity of previous years. The drive also extended its hours of operation for students, faculty and staff to donate between 8:30 am to 6 p.m.

“It gives people more time in their schedule, like they don’t have to cancel one event to come here or they don’t have to miss out on coming here because they have to go to something else. It just makes it more accessible for a lot of people,” said Lauren Ogle, a UTC freshman from Memphis.

According to Hailey Puckett, a second year Master of Public Health Student, the drive reached 427 units in the two days it was held during Fall 2019. Puckett described the value of donating blood and the responsibility that is laid upon college students.

“The need for blood donations is a never-ending cycle. From traumatic events to routine surgeries, blood is used in the medical field more than we can imagine,” she said. “During college, many students can get caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle of school and sometimes forget to give back in this manner. Bloodanooga allows students an easy and accessible way to give back to the Chattanooga community.”

Throughout the years, Bloodanooga has offered incentives for students to take with them, such as fanny packs, Yeti coolers and Apple watches. This year, students walked away with a Chick-Fil-A sandwich, a Bloodanooga long sleeve t-shirt and their name entered in a raffle for a chance to win a $500 Visa gift card.

Ogle, a first-time donor with Bloodanooga shared what giving means to her and what made the experience a smooth and comfortable one.

“I feel like it’s the most impactful way you can give back to people, it’s like saving people’s lives. So, I couldn’t think of a better way to contribute,” she said. “All of the staff was really really friendly…they’re all super sweet and helpful. They definitely made it a lot easier to donate.”

As students walked into the reception, their temperatures were immediately taken and one by one were called to the back to donate. This year, Blood Assurance aimed for at least 300 units to assist in restocking supply.

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