Ouachita Baptist University not only won on the football field during the 2009 Battle of the Ravine but also in blood donations. The Red Cross hosted the inaugural Battle of the Ravine Blood Drive as a competition between the two universities that the entire student body could participate in.
At Ouachita’s weekly chapel, the Red Cross presented the winning trophy for the blood drive to Ouachita for beating Henderson in both numbers and percentage of student body who participated in the drive. Ouachita had 223 donors making up 15 percent of the student body while HSU had 221 donors making up 6 percent of the student body.
Ouachita’s 2009 Homecoming Queen Hayley Nolan, a senior psychology major from Sherwood, Ark., received the trophy on behalf of the university. “The people who make up our student body are often challenged to be difference makers,” she noted later. “The fact that we showed up in such force for the chance to help others shows that we’ve met that challenge.”
Although the Red Cross has conducted a blood drive for two days annually at each university, this is the first year it has taken place in conjunction with the Battle of the Ravine. Tammy Barnes, who works in Ouachita’s Campus Activities Office, has been working with the Red Cross for almost a year to coordinate the event.
Barnes said, “We decided to plan the blood drive as part of the Battle of the Ravine week so that way all students, faculty and staff could feel like they played a part in beating HSU.”
To encourage donations the Red Cross provided free T-shirts to donors, posters for campus and the promise of a winning trophy to boost school pride. This competitive spirit had an obvious impact on both schools. The Red Cross reported that donations nearly doubled compared to previous years.
“I think it was a great week for the blood drive because the school was already feeling so spirited. People were already excited and ready to help out,” Nolan said. “Giving blood is just a small way that Ouachita can serve the world around us, and its cool see what can happen when everyone contributes.”
The Battle of the Ravine Blood Drive will become an annual event, according to Barnes. “We are already discussing dates for the Fall 2010 calendar to find the best dates possible to set up the drive,” she said.
By Rebecca Stone