James Madison University

Psi Chi Hosts Blood Drive

By: Daniel Vieth '15, '17
Posted: January 12, 2016

JMU is known for having an activist student body, with various groups and organizations on campus constantly looking for ways to engage the Harrisonburg community in meaningful ways. One group embodying this mentality would be JMU’s local chapter of Psi Chi, the international psychology honors society. Psi Chi recently sponsored a blood drive with the help of the local Red Cross on November 5.

With over 600,000 lifetime members worldwide, Psi Chi “has a focus on preparing people for the science of psychology, and providing career-related information and opportunities to help them get to where they need to go,” explained Dr. Michael Hall, faculty advisor for JMU’s local chapter and former president of the International Psi Chi society. Some of these opportunities include fundraisers for scholarship and travel grants for its members. The society also promotes service events and opportunities for their local chapters and communities, such as hosting guest speakers and of course the blood drive.

The first Psi Chi blood drive was held in fall 2014, with then president Kerry Gaffney (‘15) organizing the event because of her passion for donating blood. “It was challenging in some respects, but it was still a successful event and there was a lot of interest from students [to do it again],” added Hall. With one blood drive already under their belts, Psi Chi knew what to improve upon from the previous drive, and reached out to the Red Cross again. “Last semester’s event went so well that we decided to make this blood drive a tradition,” said Katie Tousley (‘16), current president of Psi Chi.

With the help of their Red Cross contact, the Psi Chi Executive Board worked together to organize this year’s event. “The people at the Red Cross are experts at this,” explained Hall. “They know how long [organizing the event] takes, how many donors they can likely get in the drive’s time window, and they strive for maximum efficiency.” With that, the main job of Psi Chi members was advertising the event around campus with emails, flyers, social media posts, and asking professors to promote the drive in class. “We watched as the number of donors rose, and it was very rewarding to know that our hard work and effort was going to save so many lives,” Tousley added. “It has been a very positive experience because we have learned what it takes in order to facilitate an event like this.”

“With certain events, you sometimes have to ask what the ultimate impact will be, but when you’re giving blood, there’s no hesitancy in recognizing that this will have some immediate value to someone,” continued Hall. “In that sense, this blood drive is the perfect example of community service.” With the Red Cross donating the blood directly to the Sentara RMH Medical Center, this now annual blood drive is a great example of Psi Chi bringing valuable service directly to the community around them. “Donating blood not only saves lives, it allows us to give back to the Harrisonburg community,” said Tousley. “We are extremely happy to keep this great cause going for the years to come.”