The American Red Cross at Yale Helps Save Lives Through Blood Drives

Members of American Red Cross at Yale in October 2023

In November 2023, the American Red Cross will host blood drives on November 7, 8, and 10 as part of its long standing partnership with its Yale chapter. As a Dwight Hall student-led member group, the American Red Cross at Yale’s work connects to the Engage pillar of Dwight Hall’s program delivery model by engaging with the Yale and New Haven communities through committed service.

According to Red Cross representative Ricardo Curry II, the partnership has a long history of successful drives around Yale’s campus, from the Yale New Haven Hospital to the Yale School of Management. However, as many of the Red Cross’s Yale locations were forced to close due to COVID-19 and financial troubles made reserving spaces more difficult, the Red Cross turned to Dwight Hall to help continue its work. Soon, Dwight Hall opened as a new site for future drives, offering both logistical and financial assistance.

Dwight Hall’s help was impactful, and Ricardo also emphasized the work of Yale students in making drives possible—particularly Elisa Howard ’24, the president of the Red Cross at Yale. “She did a great job in terms of coming on board and jumping right in. She volunteered, [and] she also sent out email blasts and was an active member. So I’m glad that it’s her [who is helping to run blood drives].”

Elisa, who has been involved with the Red Cross since her sophomore year, explained that Yale students not only help with outreach and advertising for the blood drive, but also volunteer at the drives themselves—registering volunteers, getting snacks and drinks, and checking in with donors afterwards.

Ricardo emphasizes that these students contribute to life-saving efforts. “This is not a club sport,” he said. “This is a life saving event. So I’m asking people to get involved and really think about why they’re donating blood. It’s not for a T-shirt. It’s not for the ancillary prizes that we give. It’s really to help people stay alive.”

Further, he explains that this work remains urgent due to national blood shortages—particularly blood from marginalized communities. “Every two seconds, there’s a need for blood across the United States,” he explained. “Right now, there are all [blood] types that are needed. So a lot of people ask which one is more, which one is less, all blood types are needed. We also are still in need of multiracial donors—African American, Latino, and multiracial… When there’s blood draws, we need all types of people to come and donate so the blood supply can be diverse.”

Despite the importance of these drives, however, the Red Cross has had financial difficulties. After rising costs forced the Yale drives to relocate to Dwight Hall, rather than the medical school, the drive saw a precipitous drop in donations. “The fact that we had to change locations due to lack of funding was not only aggravating, but had an impact in terms of donor numbers,” Elisa explained.

Due to the challenges, the Red Cross is seeking donations and financial support to continue its life-saving work. For those interested in contributing financially, they can contact the organization at For students interested in donating blood, they can sign up here for the November blood drives and use the sponsor code “DWIGHTYALE.”

A poster advertises a previous blood drive hosted by American Red Cross at Yale.

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