October 19, 2012 by Brian PalmerDrexel Athletics hosted its 11th annual Have A Heart Colonial Athletic Association Blood Challenge Oct. 18 at the Drexel Recreation Center to assist the American Red Cross in its goal of saving lives.
The challenge, which is held every year by all the schools in the CAA, has grown to new heights each year. Over the past decade, the CAA Blood Drive has raised 32,106 units of blood, which has helped to save 96,318 lives. Last year the Dragons collected 909 pints but lost to the archrival University of Delaware Blue Hens. Drexel, a five-time champion of the event, is looking to regain the title this year. The event was developed by the presidents of the universities within the conference as a lively way to emphasize the importance of giving blood. As a result, each university promotes the event on campus and encourages student groups, faculty, staff and alumni to take part and contribute.
This year, Drexel has decided to change a few things in attempts to improve the blood drive. In previous years, the blood drive has been held at several locations throughout the campus, but this year it was only held at the Rec Center to bring everything to one centralized location.
The Dragons and Kathy O’Brien, Drexel’s assistant athletic director for academic services, have invented many new ways to promote the event. One of those ways was at Wednesday’s men’s soccer game versus Delaware. There was a “Red Out” in an attempt to raise awareness for the blood drive and bring some attention to the men’s team and its outstanding season so far. Additionally, Jimmy Johns attended the blood drive and gave free pizza to those who participated. The men’s basketball team was there to promote the DAC Pack and the upcoming season. Drexel has utilized student-athletes in promoting the event in the past, and this year was no exception.
“The student-athletes have a lot of demands, especially between class and their sports, that it’s a very nice initiative they are doing, taking time out of their busy schedules to help promote the event,” O’Brien said about her student-athletes.
Finally, like everywhere, social media was key in advertising the event. The use of Twitter was key in promoting the event to try to increase the number of donations.
This CAA event is like no other because it does not take place on an athletic field, and every institution roots for the others to do well. Everyone who takes part in the event walks out a winner, and all the help is very much appreciated.
“We appreciate their help, support and every effort that is given to this. I just want everyone to know that we appreciate every level of support that is being given to us. Also, Go Dragons,” O’Brien said in her closing remarks. With over 750 participants signed up as of Monday, Drexel looked well on its way to winning the blood drive for a sixth time.