Written By: Angelie Roche
From Oct. 18 through the end of the year, St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) chapter of Psi Chi is holding a virtual blood drive available to all SMCM students and staff. While blood drives are normally held in person during a single day, Psi Chi’s blood drive allows students to donate at any time, from anywhere in the U.S. To participate, simply use the QR code from one of the flyers around campus or on the St. Mary’s website, or enter the link into your browser. For those looking to help their community over the winter break, donating blood is a perfect way to do so.
Psi Chi is the International Honor Society in Psychology, an organization that not only aims to help undergraduate psychology majors succeed, but to also participate in community outreach. In the past, they have contributed to mental health-related events such as Relay for Life and regularly offer student services such as tutoring. This semester in particular, the leaders of its St. Mary’s chapter felt that a blood drive would be the perfect way for the student body to contribute to the health of their respective communities, even after going home for winter break. According to Service Coordinator MK Meyers, this is Psi Chi’s first year holding a blood drive event, as it was mainly generated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Donating blood, she says, is “an amazing way that almost anyone can save lives and contribute to COVID research.”
According to the American Red Cross, it is now more important than ever before to give blood as it is not only constantly used in hospital and emergency care settings, but it can contribute to vitally important coronavirus research. Donating is completely safe, and all blood is checked for coronavirus antibodies – information that could be important for not only research but for the individual giving blood. Though people are going out less frequently, the need for blood in medical settings has not decreased at all. As the US Surgeon General stated back in March: “You can still go out and give blood. We’re worried about potential blood shortages in the future. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.”
Donating blood, even during COVID-19 times, is simple and rewarding — not only could you find out whether or not your blood contains COVID-19 antibodies, you could potentially help a lot of people in your community. Simply sign up to donate blood or plasma at a blood bank near you, donate, and use Psi Chi’s link to let the club know you participated. Meyers also encourages all SMCM students to donate and share their experiences on social media using the tag #psichiblooddrive, saying that the drive is a perfect opportunity where “everyone could feel a part of community efforts to heal the sick, fragmented as we are.”