Generosity of Cerritos College Community Makes Campus a Top Blood Donor Site
For Immediate Release: November 19, 2007
Media Contact:Allison Abel, Public Affairs, (562) 860-2451 ext. 7878
Four thousand, seven hundred and twenty-nine pints.
That's how much blood Cerritos College faculty, staff and students have donated to the local chapter of the American Red Cross (ARC) since 2000, making the campus one of the Red Cross' most generous and relied-upon locations in Southern California. In 2006, the Red Cross collected 1,092 pints of blood at Cerritos College--enough to potentially save the lives of 3,276 people.
This figure is especially important considering the crucial need of the region for blood. Due to the exploding population of Southern California, the seven- to ten-day backup supply that the Red Cross likes to maintain has dropped to just a few hours' worth.
"It used to be that we stored up blood for possible widespread emergency situations," said Robert Torrez, senior account manager for the American Red Cross' Pomona office. "Now, however, we barely have enough for everyday uses of blood such as accident victims, surgeries, operations and blood transfusions. Are we saving the blood for a disaster? We wish!"
Cerritos College is consistently a top performer in the sheer volume of blood collected, something Torrez attributes to the both the frequency of the drives—20 drives are held each year at the campus--and the exceptional willingness of students, staff, administration and faculty members to donate.
"The Cerritos College drives used to end in the afternoon, leaving no opportunity for night students to donate," recalled Torrez. "But those students voiced their desire to contribute as well, and we now hold drives from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m."
Even with the doubled hours, donors may still wait in line 45 minutes or more to give blood.
Not only are drives held more frequently than at many colleges, but the donors themselves are remarkably consistent.
"They donate not just once a year, but two or three times a year. I see students coming back over and over again," said Torrez.
Instructors have been known to offer extra credit to students who donate. Students are encouraged to invite in family and friends to donate as well, and even alumni have returned to the campus to give blood. As an additional incentive, the Student Health Center holds a yearly contest in which student clubs and academic departments compete to see which one has the highest member turnout at blood drives over the course of the year. The campus as a whole also competes with other colleges in southern California, frequently vying for top honors.
The proof of the college's success is evident on the walls in the Student Health Center, where several plaques commemorate broken records. But far more important than the plaques are the many lives affected. As a result of the blood drives held on the Cerritos College campus, thousands of people in the local community benefit every year. So far in 2007, over 800 pints of blood have been donated, potentially saving the lives of 2,400 people. With one blood drive still to come on Nov. 27-29, the campus looks to have its most generous year to date.
Torrez isn’t satisfied yet, though.
“The need never ends,” he said. “Thanks to Cerritos College, we have accomplished a lot in this community. But I’ll never stop asking for more."
To find out more about donating blood at Cerritos College, or to make an appointment to donate at the Nov. 27-29 drive, call the Student Health Center at (562) 860-2451 ext. 2321.
Cerritos College serves as a comprehensive community college for southeastern Los Angeles County. Communities within the college's district include Artesia, Bellflower, Cerritos, Downey, Hawaiian Gardens, La Mirada, Norwalk, and portions of Bell Gardens, Lakewood, Long Beach, Santa Fe Springs and South Gate. Cerritos College offers degrees and certificates in more than 180 areas of study in nine divisions. Annually, more than 1,200 students successfully complete their course of studies, and enrollment currently averages nearly 20,000 students. Visit Cerritos College online at www.cerritos.edu.