"Blood, Sweat and Dollars for NYC Victims"



Since last Tuesday's tragedies, several organizations at UB have coordinated efforts to help ease the suffering of their victims.

Over the past week, the amount of blood needed for transfusions has increased dramatically, leading to a nationwide surge in blood drives. The Buffalo chapter of the American Red Cross brought its relief efforts to UB with a series of blood drives held on the North and South campuses Sept. 17 and 19, and will hold another Sept. 24.

According to Sybill Miller, director of communications for the American Red Cross New York-Pennsylvania region, more people are coming in now than ever before to donate blood. The region includes Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton, Albany and parts of Pennsylvania.

On an average day, the region's Red Cross blood centers receive about 1,000 units of blood. Between Sept. 11 and last Monday, 15,292 units were collected, a daily intake of around 2,550 units.

During the same period, the regional Red Cross centers alone had 3,000 new donors come in.

"It will trickle off, we hope," Miller said, adding that the blood centers for the Red Cross have received almost more people than the staff can handle. Miller hopes that donor traffic will eventually return to a manageable pace once public interest returns to previous levels.

The undergraduate Student Association has also been working to ease victims' difficulties through a number of fundraising efforts.

"We agreed to throw our entire support behind [the Office of Student Life]," said SA President Christian Oliver. SA has been working with Student Life to help set up relief efforts across campus and collaborated on a recent free student bus trip to New York City.

SA plans to donate the profits from the upcoming Fall Fest toward student needs, as they arise. At $15 per student via the mandatory student activity fee, Oliver estimated profits could reach as high as $45,000.

SA is also planning to host a concert featuring local bands on campus in late October or early November. According to Oliver, the concert will be funded completely by SA and all the profits will be donated to a relief fund in New York City.

In addition, a donation box will be set up at the concert to allow attendees to contribute to a disaster-related charity.

"I think UB students will give [the donation box] a lot of support because this attack was in our backyards," said freshman Ian Cunningham.

The Salvation Army has also been present on campus and accepting donations as part of their ongoing national campaign. As of Sept. 13, the organization was serving over 100,000 meals per day to rescue workers.

UB freshman Sabesan Balasinkam likes the effect these efforts have had on the student body.

"I think most of the kids at UB are coming together," he said, but added that there was a downside to the unity, mainly that "[some students] don't want Muslims to be included in their everyday activities."

"No matter where we are from or if we knew anyone directly affected, most students are trying to help in any way possible," said freshman Adina Cepler.

More information on ways to help at UB can be found at http://www.buffalo.edu. For more information on the blood drives and the Salvation Army, look on the Web at http://wings.buffalo.edu/nyc/blood.html and http://www.SalvationArmy-USAEast.org/disaster/.