University of Delaware Recaptures Colonial Athletic Association Blood Challenge Title; Over 5,200 Units of Blood Collected
December 6, 2011
RICHMOND, Va. -- When it comes to rallying together for a great cause, University of Delaware students and staff, the local community, and Blue Hen athletics fans have few equals.
For the fifth time since the program was initiated, the University of Delaware has captured the Colonial Athletic Association Blood Challenge title, defeating the other 11 conference schools in a contest to help save lives by collecting the most blood donations.
The 10th annual event, won the first four times by Delaware before Drexel took top honors that last five years, produced record-setting numbers for the ninth straight year with 5,232 actual donors and 5,287 productive units of blood collected from the 12 CAA campuses.
The total represents a 12 percent increase in the amount of blood collected from last year’s Challenge and is more than four times the amount that was collected during the inaugural campaign in 2002. The CAA Blood Challenge has resulted in 32,106 productive units of blood since it began.
Delaware had a school-record 1,086 donors during the event, which is the second-highest yearly total in the history of the event. Events were held on different dates among the 12 sites with Delaware’s event taking place on Nov. 16.
“I am very proud of everyone who participated in the Blood Drive,” said University of Delaware President Dr. Patrick T. Harker. “This, along with the recent successful Coat Drive, Book Drive and United Way campaign, demonstrates how UD students, faculty and staff ‘Dare to be first’ and truly give of themselves for our community.”
University of Delaware Director of Athletics and Recreation Services Bernard Muir added, “I want to thank our University of Delaware students and staff and our fans in the community for stepping up and making this event such a great success once again. We are certainly excited and proud to reclaim the CAA Blood Challenge title, but more importantly it is great to know that we have been able to help save so many lives through blood donations.”
George Mason University placed second in the Blood Challenge for the second year in a row with a school-record 1,004 donors. It marks the first time in the 10-year history of the event that two different schools had more than 1,000 donors participate. Drexel University, which had won the past five CAA Blood Challenges (2006-2010), finished third with 909 donors. Virginia Commonwealth University placed fourth with 590 donors. It was the fifth consecutive year that VCU has finished in the top four in the Challenge.
With the hope of regaining the CAA Blood Challenge title, Delaware teamed with the Blood Bank of Delmarva to organize and staff multiple sites around campus to collect blood. The effort paid off in a big way.
“This year our staff was keenly focused on taking the CAA Blood Challenge to the next level,” said Roy Roper, President and CEO of Blood Bank of Delmarva. “I am so proud of their incredible hard work and organization to make this happen. The University of Delaware welcomed us with open arms and the students, faculty and alumni showed their support from the minute the drive began in the early morning hours until the last donor at the end of the day. This is an incredible achievement and we are thrilled to bring the trophy back to the University of Delaware. More important is the number of patients who have been helped by the selfless donations of blood by all those who came out on November 16. I thank everyone involved in making this happen.”
Said Jerry Oravitz, UD’s Director of Football Operations and the UD CAA Blood Challenge Site Coordinator, ““Winning the CAA Blood Challenge is another great example of the University of Delaware and the Delaware community coming together in an effort to help save lives. On behalf of the University of Delaware Department of Athletics and Recreation Services, I would like to commend the Blood Bank of Delmarva, UD Conference Services, and all of the volunteers for a fantastic job in organizing our first UD multi-site Blood Challenge. Through these new and expansive initiatives we were able to bring back the CAA Blood Challenge championship to UD.”
The CAA Blood Challenge was developed by the conference presidents as a fun way to emphasize the critical importance of donating blood. Each CAA institution worked with its local blood service center and designated one day during the fall term to conduct a campus-wide blood drive. Student groups, faculty, staff and alumni were all encouraged to participate.
All 12 CAA institutions had at least 115 donors participate in the program. Georgia State University finished fifth with 484 donors which was an impressive 80% increase in donors from last year’s Challenge. Hofstra University was sixth (264), Towson University was seventh (225), followed by UNC Wilmington (159), James Madison University (156), Northeastern University (120), Old Dominion University ( 118), and the College of William & Mary (117).
“To contribute over 5,200 units of blood from our 12 CAA campuses is an amazing accomplishment,” CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager said. “It’s remarkable the way this event has grown over the past decade and it shows the unprecedented level of support shown for this important program by all of our institutions. The outstanding efforts put forth by our students, faculty and administrators will have a positive impact on the lives of thousands of people during a critical time for blood donations over the holiday season. The CAA would like to thank all of the people who took time to donate blood and the volunteers who helped make this event such a big success.”
Commissioner Yeager will present the University of Delaware with an award in recognition of its outstanding achievement during a basketball game this winter.
Blood donations are always welcome at the Blood Bank of Delmarva. Contact the Blood Bank by phone (1-888-8-BLOOD-8) or online at: www.delmarvablood.org.
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