Commentary: Blood Drive response by Madison Elliott

We, the members of ONW Student Council, want to begin by saying thank you to all past, present, and future blood drive donors and volunteers who make each STUCO sponsored blood drive an overwhelming success.  It is because of you that we have been able to save lives through the numerous units of blood collected.

But February 27th made STUCO members feel odd.

On February 25th, my fellow Student Council members and I arrived before 7AM to prepare for the Spring Blood Drive.  Emotions ran the gamut from nervous energy to excitement to anticipation.  STUCO sponsored blood drives are a proud tradition at ONW.   Previous STUCO leaders have instilled a passion and commitment to excellence that is passed down to subsequent Student Councils.  Most of the student body here at ONW has no idea of the number of hours of planning that go onto each of the blood drives.  It is hard work that is worth every minute because the payoff is lives saved.

We set a goal for each of the blood drives.  ONW has set the bar high for high schools across Kansas and Missouri.  The Community Blood Center looks at our school as a model for getting students involved in a life-changing cause.  That is an honor for our entire school since it is your involvement that helps us reach our goals of saving more lives with each drive.  This, then, is our legacy- to continue to have increasingly more successful blood drives that result in even more lives saved.

That goal- to continually increase the number of units collected- is worthy.  Through the editorial posted in the Raven Daily, it has come to our attention that some people thought our approach to recruiting donors for this blood drive became too aggressive, making students feel uncomfortable and stigmatized.  For that, we sincerely and humbly apologize.

We truly appreciate each and every one of you who gave blood, tried to give blood, and even those of you who declined.  Our approach may have become overzealous because we were so incredibly close to meeting our goal of 600 units collected in one school year.  The desire to reach that goal may have resulted in a too aggressive approach some of the time.  But know this-it wasn’t the goal we were trying to reach just for the sake of the goal as implied in the Raven Daily editorial. It is much more than that.  It is what attaining that goal represents- 1200 lives impacted or possibly saved.

Never did we expect that each student would donate; we were simply looking for overall student involvement.  You can’t donate?  That’s ok.  It really is.  You can volunteer to help, or recruit a friend, neighbor, or family member to donate, and many of you have done all of these.  In our eyes, every “push” to give blood could be another life saved.  While it may seem cliché and overused, this really is our motive, saving lives.

So where do we go from here?

As a Student Council we have used this criticism as an opportunity to reflect and evaluate.  We were at fault for pushing too hard.  Once again, we apologize to anyone we made feel uncomfortable.  But we want to make clear what our goals are and why we are so passionate about what we do.  As a school, not just as a Student Council, we need to celebrate our successes in this worthwhile cause; but as a school, we must also strive to have more participation from all students.  Whether you spread the word about the blood drive, or give blood, student involvement is a must.

We truly believe that if you didn’t get involved in the blood drive, you missed out on much more than just free cookies.  You missed out on the chance to make a difference in someone’s life.

-Madison Elliott on behalf of ONW Student Council