For a number of years Tuks residences have been involved in and supported blood donation drives held by the South African National Blood Service (SANBS). Residences have also helped Tuks to reach the top of the list as one of the tertiary institutions that donates the most amount of blood.
Willem van der Merwe, Head of Marketing for SANBS, explains that over the past four years student support of blood donation drives has grown tremendously.
In the past, they used to set up at one or two of the residences. Today, SANBS sets up at a number of residences, making it more convenient for students to donate.
Van der Merwe said the SANBS is able to conduct blood drives at Tuks for about five months of the year. This is largely because exam and holiday periods that need to be taken into consideration. The number of donations that are given in these five months at the various blood drives are close to 8000 units. On average 1600 units are donated per month.
The biggest incentive, apart from the ability to save lives with the blood donated, is the possibility of Rag points. Students can collect these for their res when they donate. Res students are also allowed to rally members of the public to donate for their residence specifically. Van der Merwe sees this as good, healthy competition which urges the residences to donate more and in turn greatly benefit SANBS’s bloodbanks.
Over the last three years, the residences that have donated the most blood are Maroela, Madelief and Mopanie. “To be one of the top residences to donate blood really fills us with pride,” said Bulelani Nkosi, Mopanie’s Rag HK.
“We try to always remind our guys that donating blood is the best way for you to be a hero in someone’s life,” said Nkosi. “It also doesn’t hurt to make use of healthy competition from time to time to boost numbers slightly,” he added.
According to Nkosi, girlfriends, friends and visiting family members of their residents come and donate without any hesitation.
The main goal of SANBS concerning these blood drives and initiatives is to enthuse and motivate students to donate blood far beyond the years of student life.
Across the country there are similar initiatives and drives at many tertiary institutions. However, none of them collect blood on the same scale as Tuks. “Tuks is the single organisation in South Africa from which the most units of blood is collected annually,” said Van der Merwe. According to Van der Merwe, SANBS is extremely grateful to Tuks for all their support and extends a hand of thanks to university management, the central Rag committee, all of the residences and overall to all the Tuks students who regularly donate blood.
Students, according to Van der Merwe, have always shown themselves to be willing to help those in need through various initiatives, blood donation being one of them.