Glen Galinda said regardless of color on the outside, everyone needs blood on the inside to survive.
Galinda, executive director of the Migrant Students Foundation, used this idea to start the Cesar Chavez Blood Drive competition.
Next week, as part of Farmworker Awareness Week, the University of Idaho College Assistant Migrant Program will host the Chavez Blood Drive competition starting at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Teaching and Learning Center foyer.
Galinda, a UI graduate, began the blood drive in 2009 through the Lewis Clark State College CAMP as a way to introduce incoming CAMP students to their new communities, as well as to have a positive impact.
“It was a process through which students who were participating became aware of health issues and health education,” Galinda said. “Students who were going to go into health and science had a platform by which to engage the community and promote health and science careers and education.”
In 2010, Galinda and other CAMP grant leaders decided to make the blood drive competition an annual event and open it up to the rest of the country — not just schools with CAMP grant students.
For the competition CAMP students work to plan the drives on their campus and collect as much blood as possible as well as increase the donor pool.
“The key is how many of the donors were first time donors, and that’s how they can tell how much of an impact they had on bringing new donors into the donor pool and how many of the donors self-identified as Hispanic and Latino,” Galinda said.
He said the demographic with the fewest number of donors is the Hispanic and Latino community, and the students are working to change that.
“The problem that they’re tackling in this service learning donor base is that the Hispanic community is the least participating donor base in the country, but ironically we know up to 75 percent are Type O, which is the type of blood that most people can use,” Galinda said.
The competition includes categories for CAMP participants and non-CAMP participants and requires groups to keep track of how many pints are collected to determine the winners in each category.
Galinda said in 2010, there were only 113 participants. This year they are expecting 300 schools across the nation with more than 40,000 students engaged in the competition.
This year the drive will also incorporate bone marrow registry, and in the future they are hoping to expand to providing mobile mammograms and diabetes testing.
When Galinda first decided to start the blood drive competition, he was looking for a way to bring new students together and include people from all walks of life and he felt a blood drive is something that relates to everybody.
“It was something that everyone could relate to and we wanted the students to engage in something that everyone in the community they had moved to could relate to,” Galinda said.
At UI, the drive is a part of the 14th annual Farmworker Awareness week — a week to raise awareness about farmworker issues and conditions and honor the contributions made by farmworkers. There will be several events throughout the week sponsored by UI CAMP.
The documentary “Agricultural Workers in Idaho,” filmed by UI students, will play at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Kenworthy as part of the week’s celebrations.
In addition, Marc Grossman, director of communications for the Cesar Chaves Foundation will speak about working directly with Chavez and human rights activist Dolores Huerta. The presentation will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Administration Auditorium.
Galinda said he is excited that the drive has expanded across the nation and is still having a positive impact in communities around the country.
“We’re very proud as former CAMP students that all the CAMP grants are engaged in leading a campus wide event,” Galinda said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for those students and a wonderful campus wide event.”
Kaitlyn Krasselt can be reached at email@example.com