It’s good to be Greek during the annual frenzy of Greek Week on the Miami University campus, and even better to a supporter of the Greek Week Blood Drive. It’s the biggest blood drive of the year in Community Blood Center’s (CBC) 15-county region, and the two-day event started big Wednesday, Sept. 11 in Miami’s Shriver Center.
Greek Week is both a competition and a celebration. Fraternities and sororities can earn points toward the overall championship by registering the most members for the Sept. 11-12 blood drive. Lots of athletic competitions follow during the Sept. 18-28 Greek Week schedule, finishing with a dance competition. The blood drive is the first of three community service events, and having the opportunity to donate on the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks added special meaning to the students.
“I donated last year at Greek Week,” said sophomore Blaire Mikesell, a Kappa Alpha Beta member from Golden, CO. She is a type O donor, and at this year’s blood drive she made her first automated donation of double red blood cells. “They asked if I wanted to and I said ‘Why not?’ It’s kind of fitting on 9/11. It’s something small, but it helps people.”
Helping others is always a strong Greek Week tradition. Kelly Stincer, a junior from Columbus, is this year’s director of Greek Week service events. She serves as student coordinator of the blood drive, plus the Greek Week canned food drive and CROP Walk. “It’s going great,” she said, as she greeted student donors at the check-in desk. “I’m really excited. We’ve got more than the projected appointments, 348 for today and about 340 for tomorrow. We’ll have a lot of walk-ins tomorrow (the second and final day of the blood drive) because there’s always people trying to get here last minute.”
Pre-screening at the blood drive deferred 99 students because of colds, foreign travel and recent tattoos. The first day of collections ended with 307 registrations, 159 first-time donors, and 258 donations.
Turning pints into points is another theme of Greek Week, and that means chapters recruiting members for the blood drive in order to get an early lead in the overall Greek Week competition. “We’ll have a lot of guys for the blood drive,” said Sigma Phi Epsilon member Trent Gilchrist. The senior from Indianapolis made his third lifetime donation Wednesday. “It’s one of the things we like to do. We definitely won it last year, and winning again would be nice! We signed up about 75 members.”
Centerville High School graduate Laura Kempfer donated at Greek Week as a freshman and was back this year to donate again, this time as a member of Zeta Tau Alpha. “They told us to donate,” she said. “I’ve pledged Zeta now and this is one of our big things!”
“This is my first Greek Week and I’m excited!” said sophomore Haley Johnson from Deerfield, IL and a new member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. “I wanted to help out!”
Greek Week is not for Greeks alone. Any student is welcome to enjoy the spectacle of the Greek Week games, and to support the blood drive. Freshman Regina Bandwen, who hasn’t rushed a sorority yet, was a blood donor in high school. “It’s not my first time. I was just walking by and saw the sign for the blood drive and said, ‘Why not?’”
It was the first time donating for Zachary Melone, a sophomore from Joliet, IL and a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon. “Our chapter president talked about it. We want to get as many as we could coming out,” he said. “This is my first time ever! It was really smooth, easier than I thought! I was a little nervous… I’m not a needle guy. But it was easy!”