ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The University of Michigan is aiming to take down its instate rivals and save lives at the same time.
U-M and 16 of the state’s other colleges and universities are competing in the ninth annual Gift of Life Campus Challenge, a competition to see which school can sign up the most people to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry by Feb. 23. When signing up online, new donors can select which school to credit.
“People already should be aware of organ and tissue donation, but if a competition like this can get them fired up about it, that’s great,” says Jessica Bloom, a first-year medical student at U-M and president of the Wolverines for Life student chapter, a group focused on life-saving donations. “I think most people, especially students, are always looking for ways to contribute to a good cause.”
The competition, which began Jan. 12, awards two trophies: one for total registrations and another for registrations compared to student population. Michigan State University and Adrian College won the trophies last year.
As of Feb. 14, U-M was in 9th place with 28 registered donors, representing .07 percent of the student population.
The student chapter of Wolverines for Life and members of the undergraduate community service organization Alpha Phi Omega are organizing sign-up drives across campus this week to add to U-M’s total.
Although competing against instate rivals is exciting, the most important goal is saving lives, Bloom says. One donor can save the lives of eight people through organ donation and improve the lives of up to 50 people through tissue donation, she says.
“I can’t think of an easier, simpler way to help others, let alone save their lives,” she says.
Bloom says registering online is a better option for those who once filled out the back of a driver’s license because it adds the donor to the easily accessible donor registry.
“There are situations where a person arrives at the hospital without their wallet or driver’s license,” she says. “If you’re in the system, those problems can be avoided.”
To register and add to U-M’s total, visit www.giftoflifemichigan.org/go/um.
For up-to-date score totals, visit www.bit.ly/2012CampusChallenge.
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Wolverines for Life is a collaboration between the U-M Health System and other University of Michigan groups, schools and departments, along with the American Red Cross, Be the Match/National Marrow Donor Program, Gift of Life Michigan and the Michigan Eye-Bank.