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From One Neighbor to Another, Blood Drive in Vietnam is a Success

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Community service is nothing new for Keuka College students. It has been woven into the fabric of the College since 1890 when students helped pick grapes for neighboring farms. That tradition of helping others continues to be strong, and today’s College students still perform social responsibility regularly.

And that spirit of service is not limited to the students on the home campus in Keuka Park—25 students in Lynn Lannon ’69's class at University of Sciences in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, collected 197 units of blood—just three short of their goal of 200 units—during their most recent blood drive. The University of Sciences is part of Vietnam National University, one of the College’s partner universities in the country.

The number of units of blood were “more than they thought they could do, and a great success for them working with the Vietnam Red Cross Society, and students and staff at the International Technology Education Center [ITEC],” says Lynn, whose class organized the drive to help ease the shortage of blood in their community.

While not the first time Lynn’s students have held a blood drive, this was the most successful blood drive operated by students, who created the vision, mission, and timeline for the drive.

Her students worked with the Vietnam Red Cross Society to prepare for the drive, including gathering information, marketing the event, hanging banners and posters, using social media, and working with the doctors and nurses from the Red Cross prior to the official Blood Donation Day. They also assisted on the day of the event, by checking people in for their donation, handing out snacks and small ‘thank you’ gifts, and cleaning up after the event. They also created a video of their blood drive.

But that success came with some challenges for the members of the class charged with organizing the blood drive.

“Most of us have never participated in a blood donation before,” said one of the students on the team. “Because this was the first time many of us were involved in a project like this, we had some trouble managing the number of people who came to register. We also had difficulty in organizing the way the tables and chairs were set. Fortunately, under the direction, organization, and management from Professor Lannon and the Vietnam Red Cross Society, we completed this project together, and more successfully than what we expected.”

In fact, the class says Lynn is always beside them and teaches them “helpful and meaningful things, not only for our work, but also for our life. Thanks to our professor, we all now have great experience. All of the things we have learned from this course, and the Keuka College program, also will help us be more confident when we get jobs in the future,” says the Blood Donation Team.

“Finally, the spirit of team-building for all members in our class was the most important factor,” added another student. “We supported each other, and that is what determined our success.”

Lynn teaches classes in international business and initiated a community service component to her classes four years ago. Past projects have seen her students hold drives to fit children with bicycle helmets, visit nursing homes and orphanages, place recycling bins, and clean classrooms and hallways around campus.

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