University of Michigan-Flint’s annual Day of Service took place Mon. Jan. 21, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as well as his life and legacy of public service. This year’s theme was “The Rebirth of Civil Rights: A New Movement for a New Generation,” and focused on challenging students and faculty to take an honest examination of racial perceptions today.
The main volunteer site on campus was the Michigan Blood Drive that took place in the Happenings Room. The drive was run by Michigan Blood, a nonprofit independent blood bank. The organization provides blood for 38 hospitals in the Lower Peninsula, according to its website.
The drive was facilitated by Diversity Education Services, who held discussions about race and MLK during the week before. Diversity Education Services also provided volunteers.
“We’ve had a big turnout,” Barbara Bassett Diversity Education Services administrative assistant said. “I got hold of the different agencies to set up volunteer sites. We go out to My Brother’s Keeper, Fenton Adopt-a-Pet, Habitat for Humanity and Boys and Girls Club.”
Everyone who registered to donate blood received one coupon for one large Papa John’s Pizza, as part of the “Pizza for Pints” program sponsored by the pizzeria. Potential donors who were not able to give blood were still able to receive a coupon.
However, free pizza was not the reason some donated, such as Kayla Bailey, a sophomore majoring in biology. Bailey learned about the blood drive through the email sent by Crystal Flynn of Diversity Education Services.
“I feel good. [The drive] was close and I haven’t given blood in a while,” Bailey, who plans on attending the drive next year as well, said.
For Joseph Zalinski, a freshmen majoring in computer science, the reason was simple.
“I’ve given blood before. It saves lies and it’s good to do it.” Zalinski said.
Members of Sigma Sigma Sigma helped with sign-in, and provided juice, cookies, and snacks.
“Carol Lee from Michigan Blood asked me to help and I said absolutely,” Katie Riedel a pre-physical therapy senior said. Riedel is the community service chair for the sorority and added that this was the “first of many years” for them in the drive.
The drive was after the volunteer breakfast in the Michigan Rooms. Participants received t-shirts featuring the powerful mug shot of MLK shown in promotional posters and emails. The picture was chosen by graphic artist and UM-Flint alumnus James Thigpen, who urges students to view MLK in a more realistic way.
Chris can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org