April 13, 2012
By Darla Martin Tucker
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (www.lasierra.edu) Cindy Montenegro lay stretched out on a mobile bed in the La Sierra University Student Center with an intravenous tube taped to her arm. The sophomore speech pathology student was not undergoing a medical emergency, but was donating blood to help those who may one day suffer a crisis and need the life-saving fluid.
“I usually donate blood whenever I get a chance because I know it’s to save a life,” Montenegro said.
She was among 35 La Sierra students who passed American Red Cross screening criteria and gave blood on April 10 during the Hispanic Student Association’s first blood drive. The effort was in partnership with the National César Chávez Blood Drive Challenge organized by MigrantStudents.org. American Red Cross health care workers and volunteers collected donor information and blood donations. The donations will be stored at the American Red Cross blood bank in Pomona.
“Today I didn’t have class and I took an hour off of work to donate,” said blood donor and La Sierra graduate student Stephen Uribe. “I usually try to donate blood. I know I’m helping other people and if I ever needed blood, I hope some people would help me.”
La Sierra’s Hispanic Student Association has 140 members of which 55 are active participants this year, said Ruth Claros, association president. The group has existed for many years and was previously known as the Ole Club. It was intermittently active before re-emerging as the Hispanic Student Association about three years ago. Enrollment that year began to increase and has experienced an upsurge this year, Claros said. “Its purpose is to provide a place for students where they can learn about the Hispanic culture. Since we have seen an increase in enrollment and participation in the activities that we put on, we are expanding the purpose to be more service oriented,” she said.
Such service projects include the blood drive and participation in a Christmas fiesta last December for low-income families in San Bernardino. Association members will also perform cultural dances during La Sierra’s Festival of Nations and will participate in FEJA soccer tournaments organized by the Hispanic Youth Ministry of the Southeastern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
MigrantStudents.org contacted La Sierra’s Hispanic Student Association about participating in the national blood drive named in honor of civil rights leader and migrant/seasonal farm workers’ advocate César Chávez. MigrantStudents.org, based in Yuma, Wash., serves tens of thousands of migrant farm worker families within the United States by helping them connect with scholarships, internships and service learning opportunities, its web site states.
The organization holds the annual blood drive in March and April as a means of fostering student development through the donor experience and event organization, said Glen Galindo, MigrantStudents.org executive director. “Our campaign, which honors, César E. Chávez, is of particular interest and pride to students of migrant/seasonal farm working background. César E. Chávez is a role model to all who value civic engagement and community service,” he said.
This year’s effort aimed to register 25,000 blood donors at 250 college and university campuses around the United States. As of April 9, 239 colleges and universities and 15,218 donors had signed up to participate with 73 campus blood drives anticipated this month. At the end of the campaign, plaques are given to the top 10 campuses based on a 10-datapoint system in which schools are evaluated on the percentage reached of their own goals with an emphasis on reaching first-time donors and Hispanic/Latino donors. A champion receives a large trophy which the winning school keeps for a year until it is passed to the next year’s champion. The University of Missouri captured last year’s championship “and is attempting to hang on to it for 2012,” stated Galindo.
PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University