Challenge Accepted: Students Apply Their Skills to Help Save Lives

According to the Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the world is in need of a blood transfusion, yet only 38 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood. Due to this need, the Red Cross travels around the United States partnering with communities to set up blood drives in the effort to help saves lives throughout the country.

Julie Goodell,student volunteer (right) assists student Kara Bemis with her donor paperwork

Globe University-Eau Claire is known for its avid work throughout the Chippewa Valley community. As an organization, students and staff from the university donate their time and money to local organizations. To assist with the need of blood collections in our community, Gretchen Johnson, medical assistant program chair, and her department coordinate four blood drives on campus each year. This winter, they hosted a “We Challenge U” blood drive on campus—to challenge students and staff to donate and help the Red Cross Collect 25 pints of blood. Hosting blood drives on campus not only helps fulfill the blood shortage, but also allows our students to volunteer at the event and gain real world experience.

Applied Learning—“Learning by Doing” 

Applied learning is an important aspect of the learning process here at Globe University. It assists our students with obtaining tangible skills that they can utilize after graduation in their future career. As part of the applied learning process, students at Globe University complete service learning projects for various classes. These projects allow students to take their classroom skills and apply them to a real-word setting while giving back to their communities.

Cassandra Harbek (right), student volunteer, directs Gary Wheeler, Globe University Staff, through his paperwork

For this blood drive, students from Patient Care 1 and Professional Communications volunteered their time to help out at the event. They worked hand-in-hand with the members of the Red Cross checking in and assisting donors at the canteen table.

Giving Back while Learning

Julie Goodell, current veterinary technology student, volunteered at the donor registration desk as part of her applied learning project. “I chose to volunteer with the Red Cross and help out at the blood drive because it was for a great cause. In addition to giving back to my community, I was able to practice my communication skills throughout my project.”

Throughout her shift, Julie interacted with staff, students and community members taking their information and directing them through the donation process. “This volunteer opportunity will definitely assist me in my future veterinary technician career. As a vet tech, I will be interacting with clients on a daily basis. The practice that I got today will definitely assist me in the future.”

Cassandra Harbek accepted the challenge and donated blood to help save lives!

Gretchen also believes that service learning projects fulfill a necessary role within the student learning process. “I know the students who volunteered today left with a positive experience. It was a successful event due to an amazing amount of teamwork here at Globe. Students from multiple courses volunteered to work the check-in and canteen station and were able to apply skills that they learned in the classroom in a real-word setting. In addition, by volunteering, they got to meet other staff and students that they may not typically encounter as well as network with members of the Red Cross.”

In addition to volunteering their time at the event, many students and staff donated blood. Cassandra Harbek, current veterinary technology student, got the opportunity to do both. “Volunteering at this event was a great experience. I worked at the registration desk and interacted with the donors. It helped me fine-tune my communication skills. I learned that I should always ask questions and have a smile on your face.” She added, “In addition to interacting with donors, I got the opportunity to donate blood myself and help out my local community.”

The “We Challenge U” Blood drive was a huge success! Our students got the opportunity to apply skills they learned from their classes into real life scenarios and they were able to help out a great organization. In addition, The Red Cross collected 17 pints of blood from Globe University Eau Claire students and staff—this collection will help save over 51 lives!