NMSU and UTEP compete in annual I-10 coalition blood drive


NMSU and UTEP host annual I-10 blood drive. (Source: Kiss El Paso)

The annual Interstate 10 Coalition Blood Drive between New Mexico State University and the University of Texas at El Paso kicked off this week and has already raised over 400 units of blood.

United Blood Services hosts the event on both campuses and handles the blood after collection. They are located in a van outside of Corbett Center Student Union and inside Aggie Lounge all week. The competition originally began in 2004 and has preceded the NMSU versus UTEP football game every year.

“This is the fifteenth annual I-10 Coalition Blood Drive,” Monique Hilverding, a donor recruitment representative with United Blood Services said. “And between the two universities, we normally collect around 1,000 units of blood.”

She said they collect the blood and then send it to their center in El Paso for it to be processed, which takes two days. The blood is then sent out to 18 hospitals in southern New Mexico and west Texas area.

Hilverding said the I-10 Coalition is their largest donor event on campus, which helps them to replenish their supply. She explained that blood has a shelf life of 42 days and they need 165 units daily, but last week they had less than a day’s supply of O+ blood.

“The crash that happened in northern New Mexico used a lot of blood,” Hilverding said. “We take care of the 18 hospitals here, but if there’s a need somewhere else, we can ship blood to other areas.” She said the hurricane on the other side of the country has impacted blood supply on a national level because they have a need, but they are not drawing blood in those areas.

United Blood Services plans to be on campus for a week every other month, when students become eligible to donate again.

Madonna Wilson, an undergraduate student at NMSU, donated blood Tuesday. She said she had not donated in some time, but thought the drive was a positive thing.

“I just thought it sounded like a good thing to do,” Wilson said.

Leanora Miller, also an undergraduate at NMSU, said donating was a new experience for her.

“I decided to do it because I’d never done it before,” Miller said. Both students said they would likely donate again in the future.

Bruce Vandevender, director of Campus Activities at NMSU, said the winner of the competition will be announced during halftime at the rivalry football game this coming Saturday.

“There is a plaque that is awarded to each university,” Vandevender said. “Usually stays probably with the athletic departments.” He said according to United Blood Services, NMSU has won 10 times since the start of the event. NMSU is so far leading the competition this year with 237 units compared to UTEP’s 170 units.

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