By Dana Yamashita

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute recently hosted its annual American Red Cross (ARC) blood drive. Each year, the ARC uses facilities on the Rensselaer campus to hold blood drives and the SAAC has hosted one each year for the past five years.

Karen Hansen, associate athletic director, said she approached the Red Cross several years ago to find opportunities for Rensselaer student-athletes “to engage in community service both on and off campus.” She was put in touch with Lauren Arnoff, assistant director at the Mueller Center, who works in tandem with the ARC to schedule blood drives at Rensselaer.

“The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee feels fortunate that we have an opportunity to host such an impactful event annually,” said Hansen. “This event allows our student-athletes to help recruit, staff, and show their support for the American Red Cross.”

The SAAC recruited donors through the use of emails, social media posts, and by word of mouth, and the student-athletes staffed the event by working the registration and canteen tables.

This year, the SAAC exceeded its goal with 53 scheduled appointments and three walk-ins. “The event was fantastic,” Hansen said. “With the American Red Cross facing a national blood crisis, the worst shortage in over a decade, our student-athletes wanted to assist in any way they could. They appreciate the opportunity to contribute back to the local community.”

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to come out and volunteer my time with the blood drive,” said Rani Jones, a junior student-athlete on the women’s tennis team. “Being able to give back to the local community allows me to have an outlet away from my academics and the ability to contribute to those in need. I look forward to volunteering at this great event each year.”