Tau Kappa Epsilon partners with Red Cross

Brooke Holden, Staff Writer

The Francis Marion University chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) teamed up with the American Red Cross to sponsor a blood drive last week that raised 86 units of blood.

Within six hours, more than 80 students participated, exceeding the expectations of both organizations.

Michael Smith, a junior history major, serves as president of the chapter.  He said that since 1997, TKE has sponsored an estimated 25 blood drives at FMU.

“It’s a way to give back to our community; it’s a way to help out,” Smith said.  “I see it more as a chance for [donors] to give us an opportunity to help, more than they see it as we’re helping them,”

Donating blood is nothing new for Trevor Waco, a junior accounting major, but it was his first time as a TKE brother.

“I wanted to be more involved in things on campus, be a part of something bigger than myself,” Waco said about his reasons for joining the chapter.

Waco said his objective to be a part of something bigger came full circle when he experienced the blood drive first-hand.

“I’ve been to blood drives before when I wasn’t a member, but for some reason it felt so much better being in an organization that was actually sponsoring it,” Waco said.

Waco added that with the challenge of meeting goals and recruiting donors came a newfound appreciation of brotherhood and giving back.

In total, 118 participants took part in the drive, and 86 units of blood were donated.  The American Red Cross calculates that one unit is one donation, and one donation saves three lives, which means FMU will save up to 258 lives.

Smith said the chapter is making plans to collaborate with other Greek organizations to sponsor more philanthropic events this semester.

“Every donation matters, and every attempt to donate matters,” Smith said.  “I can’t stress enough how much helping out affects Francis Marion, the community of Florence and the state of South Carolina.”

The Red Cross South Carolina Blood Services Region provides lifesaving blood to patients in 54 hospitals. Approximately 500 people need to give blood or platelets each day to meet hospital demands.