By Rocio Hernandez

Sigma Phi Epsilon hosted its 11th annual blood drive in partnership with United Blood Services from Monday, Feb. 9 to Friday, Feb. 12. United Blood Services is a nonprofit organization that provides blood to hospitals across the country.

Since Sig Ep’s first blood drive, the fraternity has achieved 6,390 successful donations. Because one pint can be used to aid up to three people, Sig Ep estimates that they have impacted around 23,000 lives.

Robert Jones, Sig Ep blood drive chair, said that in recent years the fraternity made its blood drive a priority for the whole chapter.

“We’ve had a lot of contact with the United Blood Services and it’s just a philanthropy that really seems to work,” Jones said. “It really seems that we are successful in our blood drives, we get a good amount of donations and I think our numbers kind of speak for that.”

Jones has been a frequent donor for over five years. When he first donated blood in high school, Jones discovered that he has Type O-negative blood, the most demanded of the four primary blood types. The American Red Cross website states that Type O-negative blood is commonly used in emergencies involving infant blood transfusions and patients whose blood type is unknown.

“Before I even started [being involved with] the blood drive in Sig Ep, I’d always donate because I would think about the babies that I am saving and it makes you feel good,” Jones said.

Manveer Sodhi, a United Blood Services donor relations specialist, said that partnerships between the nonprofit and university-based organization make it easier to spread United Blood Services’ mission to serve communities and emphasize the value of blood donations.

“It’s a really important service,” Jones said. “You wouldn’t want to be in that situation where there isn’t enough blood or they don’t have your blood type if you, God forbid, get in some kind of accident.”

Sophomore Ella Hamrick found out about the blood drive through Sig Ep’s social media efforts donated on Wednesday in between her classes. She had not donated blood since she was in high school because she had traveled outside the United States. If the blood drive had not taken place on campus, Hamrick believes she would have gone longer without donating.

However, Sig Ep’s philanthropy event has not been without its challenges. According to Sodhi, the winter season has made it difficult to find people who have not caught a cold and have time to donate blood.

“When we face something like this where there is something going around, it really affects us and in turn, it affects those hospital patients,” Sodhi said.

Jones said he hopes future Sig Ep blood drives will attract a greater number of student donors through early advertising efforts.

“We are really trying to make it a lot bigger,” Jones said. “We’ve gotten advertisements on the jumbotron right outside the Joe as well as the TV’s inside, flyers all around campus, but we will really hope the next blood drive we are going to get all those marketing tools out a lot quicker so we can get even more people to donate.”

Rocío Hernández can be reached and on Twitter   @rociohdz19.