Each year at the beginning of fall semester, with the help of the American Red Cross, WSU and USU compete in a bloody contest: the annual Blood Drive.

Blood Battle participants in the Shepard Union Ballroom on WSU's main campus. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)
Blood Battle participants in the Shepard Union Ballroom on WSU's main campus. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

During Aug. 24 to 28, the Shepherd Union ballrooms will host the blood drive from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

While this year’s blood drive may look a little different, donating blood is more important now than ever.

“Blood drives are always important. There is a constant national shortage for blood; especially right now during this pandemic, blood is crucial,” Teresa Martinez, Student Engagement Coordinator at the Center for Community Engaged Learning, said.

Martinez said she understands the fear people currently have of going out and giving blood during the pandemic.

“We are doing everything we can to have our environment safe and moderated,” Martinez said. “We are taking all the necessary precautions to have people feel safe and comfortable while donating blood.”

Face coverings are required even before entering the Shepherd Union building, and donations are taken by appointment only.

Participants then had their temperatures taken before entering the ballrooms and were screened with questions. Finally, only one person was allowed into the ballroom at a time.

“We don’t want anyone to feel like they’re putting themselves at risk. That isn’t the goal,” Martinez said. “We do want them to know that we understand these concerns and we’ll do whatever we can to help minimize these concerns as much as possible.”

Martinez said they have already been surprised by the turn out.

“Every single appointment slot has been booked; we’ve never had that before,” Martinez said. “We hope that people will follow up with their appointment and have a successful donation.”

Donors will receive a free t-shirt and a $5 Amazon gift card while supplies last.

Each successful blood donation will also be screened for the free COVID-19 antibody testing. According to the Red Cross website, if someone has successfully combated COVID-19, their plasma may contain antibodies that can attack the virus.

Kylee Strate, WSUSA service team member and American Red Cross Chair, said she has personal moments in her life where her family members have needed blood donations.

“It’s just an important service that allows people to get the proper medical care,” Strate said.

Strate said she’s hoping that WSU wins against USU in the blood battle.

“I love Weber, and I love going here,” Strate said. “I really want to show the community how awesome our university is.”

During the first day of school, Waldo, President Mortensen and Red Cross director, Ben Donner, stopped by the blood drive.

“Even though we’re in this pandemic and the campus feels like a ghost town, you could still feel that sense of community and wanting to give,” Martinez said. “An event like this is what provides the opportunity of hope in times where you have to be distant from one another.”

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