Age-old rivals Harvard and Yale found themselves competing once again as the schools vied to collect the greater quantity of blood in Red Cross-sponsored drives held on each campus during the past two weeks.
The annual Harvard-Yale Blood Drive, which kicked off on Tuesday at Harvard, was held in Adams House, Hillel, and the Student Organization Center at Hilles.
Yale’s Red Cross chapter held its own drive one week earlier but will not release the tally of pints of blood that it collected until the Red Cross confirms the number of pints Harvard amassed, according to David R. Grieder ’14, co-director of blood services for the Harvard Red Cross.
The blood drive drew both first-time and veteran donors.
“I’ve always wanted to donate blood,” said Medha B. Gargeya ’14. “I’m lucky to be a universal donor, so I have often entertained this romantic notion that my blood would be useful for many individuals in need.”
Caroline K. Lauer ’14, who has made multiple donations since her junior year in high school, said that the thought of beating Yale gave her an “extra incentive” to donate.
In an effort to reduce wait times, the Harvard Red Cross introduced online registration and screening this year.
“We’re trying to reach a balance between getting people in the door and getting the right people in the door,” Grieder said.
But a last-minute technological glitch prevented several people from donating. At 4:15 p.m. on Friday—just 45 minutes before the drive was slated to end—nurses left their stations and addressed students sitting in the waiting area.
“It’s not hopeful,” said one nurse. “It doesn’t look great. The computers just aren’t working.”
Upon hearing the news, a few students departed, but others waited to see whether they would be able to give blood. The machines were not fixed.
Grieder said that he expects the Red Cross will release Harvard’s blood pint count on Monday.
In previous years, the losing school sent its rival a photo of its dean wearing the winner’s logo t-shirt. But Grieder could not confirm whether the deal will hold true this year when the blood drive’s winner is eventually announced.
“Either way the outcome is good,” Grieder said. “If we beat Yale, we get glory. If we lose, we still get the satisfaction of saving lives. That’s why people put on blood drives, and that’s the reason people come to donate.”
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