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USC student, UCLA Blood & Platelet Center collaborate to host blood drive

The UCLA Blood & Platelet Center in Ackerman Union is pictured. The center hosted a blood drive in collaboration with a University of Southern California fraternity in March. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Callie Wiesner

April 11, 2024 10:33 p.m.

Bruins and Trojans have spilled “blood” for nearly a century – so for University of Southern California student Aidan Dayani, UCLA was a natural place to look for blood.

Dayani, who is the philanthropy chair of USC’s chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order, held a blood drive March 22 in collaboration with the UCLA Blood & Platelet Center. Participants donated blood in the fraternity’s house, which fraternity brothers and UCLA BPC members organized for safety, Dayani said.

“A frat house isn’t known for being the cleanest place,” he said. “Through the help of brothers, through the help of resources, we’ve been able to find a logistical way to operate a full-sized blood drive within the confines of our frat house.”

This wasn’t Dayani’s first time working with the UCLA BPC – as his high school’s president, he oversaw a biannual blood drive in collaboration with UCLA Health, he said.

Now, Dayani said he wanted to use his knowledge and position as his fraternity’s philanthropy chair to bring that work into a different setting. He added that his familiarity with the UCLA BPC led him to choose it over USC facilities for this blood drive.

Although the rivalry could have inhibited students from signing up for the blood drive, Noelle Lai, the BPC’s community liaison, said the drive’s focus was to help save lives. Blood donation is critical because blood cannot be made artificially, Lai said, adding that college students and young adults are the best age group for donation because they can recover quickly from the blood loss.

“I hope that the Bruins, our Bruins, can see past that (the rivalry),” Lai said. “Blood is so needed.”

Dayani contacted the BPC to organize the drive, and staff including Lai visited the fraternity house to check if the room where the drive would be held was in a good enough condition for the donation setup, Lai said. The BPC was in constant contact with Dayani, ensuring enough donors signed up for the drive, proper paperwork was filed and posters were made to advertise the event, Lai added.

(Courtesy of Aidan Dayani)
BPC staff pose with blood donors during the March blood drive. The drive, hosted at the house of USC's Kappa Alpha Order, was organized by student Aidan Dayani. (Courtesy of Aidan Dayani)

Additionally, the fraternity reached out to other Greek life organizations to participate in the drive, said Will Petrucco, treasurer of the USC chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order. As the drive’s main promoter on USC’s Greek row, Petrucco said he sought to emphasize how easy and important it is to donate blood.

“An hour of a normal person’s time can save the life of anyone, really, and give them a second chance, no matter what the situation is,” he said. “You have to just show up.”

Dayani added that although most people were confused that the drive was through UCLA and not USC, he hoped they saw the event was ultimately about saving lives. He added that there was a little bit of flak from rival fraternities, with people focusing on fraternity rivalries and smaller details as opposed to the bigger picture: saving lives.

One challenge in organizing the blood drive was getting people to sign up and donate blood, Dayani said, adding that one concern the organizers had before the event was that some students who said they would donate would not formally sign up.

Despite these challenges, the fraternity met its goal, Lai said in a later emailed statement. In the end, the drive collected 31 pints of blood, and organizers even had to turn donors away at some points during the drive, Lai added in the emailed statement.

Petrucco said the drive has opened up opportunities for Greek life and USC as a whole to be more cohesive, leading to less competition between houses.

“At USC, there’s a lot of tension between fraternities and sororities – it’s competition and disdain towards other people,” he said. “Through fundraisers such as this, you can … help bring people closer together, because it is an important cause, and it’s a cause that’s bigger than any individual person or house.”

Lai said she wants people to recognize that donating blood is saving someone’s life, even if it takes someone from a rival school to allow people to recognize that blood is needed.

Dayani added that the blood drive gave his fraternity members an opportunity to inspire others and make a difference in their community.

“If you have an idea, go for it. Find the resources, make an effort and make a difference,” he said. “It’s not as hard as you think it is. There’s people out there trying to help.”

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Callie Wiesner
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