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Campus Blood Drives Draw ‘Heroes’ Recognition From Red Cross


Pennsylvania College of Technology students, faculty and staff were honored at Friday morning’s American Red Cross Heroes Recognition breakfast for their lifesaving blood-drive efforts.

Carl L. Shaner, College Health Services director, and Ellen K. Cero, secretary to the director, humbly accepted a Community Impact (Biomedical) award on behalf of all the students and employees “who join together – drive after drive – to create a wave of collaboration fueled by the college’s culture of generosity and gratitude.”

Over the past 10 years, about 8,000 pints of blood have been collected at Bush Campus Center campaigns. That total represents an average of 200 units per two-day blood drive, according to the Northcentral Pennsylvania Red Cross Chapter, compared to the 30-unit average of a more typical Bloodmobile visit.

College Health Services Ellen K. Cero and Carl L. Shaner accept an American Red Cross award for their stewardship of campus blood drives. (Photo by Jennifer McLean, associate dean of student affairs)
College Health Services Ellen K. Cero and Carl L. Shaner accept an American Red Cross award for their stewardship of campus blood drives. (Photo by Jennifer McLean, associate dean of student affairs)

“There is something special happening at Penn College,” host Ken Sawyer told the audience, “and it all comes back to the culture they share of everyone wanting to give back.”

Shaner is the first to acknowledge what really drives the accomplishments: “Our students are the ones out there making this a success. The spirit of everyone doing something important together creates that arena.”

“The students look for ways to contribute and the blood drives are one way in which they do it,” Sawyer said in bringing the college honorees to the podium. “Sure, they love the free T-shirts and other giveaways; but in the end, what they really gravitate toward is the friendliness, the great music, the delicious food – which are all ingredients for a great atmosphere. The drives offer … inclusiveness, fun and contributing to something that matters. Most of all, students like being a part of something that is making a difference. And they enjoy having fun while they’re contributing.”

Having fun has another benefit: friendly competition between classes or athletic teams. Sometimes they even pull in other schools in the area, like Lock Haven University or Lycoming College, all in the spirit of seeing who can donate the most units.

“It is fun to hear the students’ excited announcements,” the narrative continued. “‘So and so’ is trying to beat our goal, let’s get everyone we know to donate!”

And they do.

“The enthusiasm is contagious, and it is not uncommon to have a handful of new donors with every drive,” Shaner said. “The key is to keep the rivalries entertaining, so everyone can enjoy competing for a good cause.”

The Genetti Hotel event recognized 18 groups and individuals – “celebrating those who have gone above and beyond to make a difference” – from Bradford, Clinton, Columbia, Lycoming, Northumberland, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga and Union counties.

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