The University of South Australia has been named the second highest community blood donation group in Australia at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service's annual Red25 awards presentation.
UniSA staff and students made 1360 donations last year as part of the Red25 annual challenge held by the Blood Service – saving the lives of 4080 people needing blood products, including much-needed plasma.
The University also recorded the highest blood donation tally in South Australia under the community category – earning it a regional award.
UniSA Business Management graduate Ayesha Fernando received an Ambassador Award for her role coordinating blood donations whilst a student in 2016. She became involved after volunteering with the University of South Australia Students’ Association.
“One day I got an emergency request to fill in for the UniSA blood drive team as an event volunteer,” Fernando says.
“It was an amazing opportunity to volunteer with the blood drive team. We collected 80 sign ups on that day and it was a lot of fun.”
From there, she successfully applied for the voluntary role of project manager on the student-led blood drive team.
“The most valuable reward was the opportunity I got to work with Red Cross Blood Service staff and the wonderful project team who take part in this project by heart. It also helped me develop professional skills,” she says.
Early last year, the University set a target of 1200 donations for 2016, which it comfortably exceeded.
Chancellery and Council Services Director Dr Penny Moore says the achievement is a result of the efforts and generosity demonstrated by staff, students, alumni and community supporters from across South Australia – and even a few from interstate.
“The work we undertake with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service is a great cause,” Dr Moore says.
“There is little to no financial cost to the University, however it yields an invaluable contribution to the community, and adds further to our corporate responsibility activities.
“It’s an excellent example of staff and students working together to achieve positive outcomes for the community.”
Chancellery and the Student Engagement Unit worked together to improve the 2015 results – almost tripling the University’s membership of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service donation program, Red25, from 294 members in 2015 to 850 members in 2016.
Blood Service regional and community relations manager SA/NT Danielle Griffith says UniSA students, staff and alumni have been amazing supporters of blood donation.
Red25 is the donation program of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service which aims to rally corporate, government and community organisations and groups together to achieve 25 per cent of the annual blood donations needed by Australians.
The Blood Service is always in need of new blood donors, particularly to help combat seasonal donor shortages around long weekends.
UniSA staff can donate blood during work hours under the ‘Special Leave Procedure’ with their manager’s approval.