Office of Public Affairs

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Feb. 25, 2004


    OSWEGO -- The formation of an American Red Cross club at SUNY Oswego is a legacy of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. While that day's events took thousands of lives, the club's goal is to help save lives.

    The recent award of a $5,000 grant for promotional activities will help the student club continue to thrive, noted club co-presidents Chris Thuman and Jenny Hawley. The grant underwrites posters, brochures, table tents, T-shirts and other promotional materials, plus opportunities to bring in speakers and visit other campus chapters, Hawley noted.

    "It is a big deal, really," Carol Hunn, Oswego branch director of the Onondaga/Oswego Chapter of the American Red Cross, said of the club's Preparedness, Youth and Young Adult Programs and Services Grant from the national chapter. She said 88 organizations applied for grants from a pool of $55,000, and the Oswego club was one of only 12 chapters to receive funding.

    Hunn recalled the club's beginnings, as members of the campus community formed long lines to give blood in Hewitt Union on Sept. 11, hoping to do something -- anything -- to help others. "I stood on a chair and asked the students if they wanted to form a club," she said. The story of the club's foundation proved compelling enough to merit an article in the American Red Cross' CrossNet online newsletter.

    The campus chapter has 25 to 30 members, about half of whom attend meetings, Thuman said. The club can promote its blood drives but needs more support as it expands into other services like CPR classes and disaster training. "Once we increase involvement, we can do more activities on campus," he said.

    Taking part in club activities and going through Red Cross training is "a great resume builder," Hunn said. "If students learn to become instructors, they can use that as a summer job."

    The club's blood drives for two days every semester remain successful, Hawley said. For the two-day drive in February, they set a goal of 55 people each day, and had 58 the first day and 65 the second. "One pint of blood saves three lives," Hawley said. "We saved 174 people the first day, 195 the second day."

    Increased exposure can cultivate more volunteers to help with registration, serve refreshments and other tasks at the blood drive, Thuman said. "The student participation as far as giving blood has been excellent," Thuman noted. "People have been very good. They want to help."

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Recent Red Cross bloodmobile on campus

GIFT OF LIFE -- Freshman Brett Zialesko was one of many members of the SUNY Oswego campus community who rolled up their sleeves to support the recent American Red Cross bloodmobile in the Hewitt Union ballroom. With him is Tiffany Priester, a donor specialist with the Red Cross. Members of the campus Red Cross chapter, which organized the drive, said the number of donors once again exceeded their goal.

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