Spring Blood Drive: Urgent Blood Need from University of Utah Students

By Dabin Kim

The American Red Cross (ARC) annually provides blood drive at the campus for students to participate in donating blood at the University of Utah. During World War I, ARC had some time being an important organization, especially in Utah. Before the United States officially participated in the war, a Red Cross was helping out other participated European countries by sending doctors, nurses or any other medical supplies. As the U.S started to be in WWI, New Mexico and Utah were a lot helped by ARC as they were in need of doctors and medical supplies. (“Utah Historical Quarterly,” 2019) As ARC played a big role, it became one of the powerful institutions in Utah. (Watson, 2017)


Carol Wathen, working as a nurse at American Red Cross, is checking blood pressure for Ralph Rhudy who was a former student at the University of Utah. Originally published in The Daily Utah Chronicle on April 27, 1961.

Comparing to previous participants from 1960s, students started to not give attention to the blood drive at the campus. As it became urgent and needed many students to be motivated, ARC actively advertised through Daily Utah Chronicle.

Not just giving out flyers and advertising the opening time of blood clinic and location of the spring blood drive, Red Cross started using a different strategy to which was advertising differently. Daily Utah Chronicle included Betty Lou Sine’s announcement who could affect powerfully for students on April 25, 1961. As a representative of the army who were supporting the drive, have made an announcement to acknowledge for an active participation who hesitates for the donation.

Students who were over 18 with a minimum of 110 pounds were all qualified to donate. The signed permission from parents needed was the man who is not married and under 18 mentioned on April 27, 1961, by Daily Utah Chronicle.

At the Union Ballroom at the University of Utah, some physicians were attending to receive any question and checked the students who could be qualified to participate in the donation. Even the blood clinic was open for all students to visit from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. listed on April 25, 1961, by Daily Utah Chronicle.

Red Cross elaborated about why it is stressing, and they are in a situation in need of people. It was urgently needed by physicians and surgeons “stock of whole blood and plasma” to use in an emergency situation or during operation reported on April 25, 1961, by Daily Utah Chronicle.

As participants were limited to 39 students, Daily Utah Chronicle published on April 27, 1961, showed how easy to donate blood at the blood drive. It was easily explained by the photograph with John Allred who was an ROTC student donating blood by the Red Cross worker Tella Okubo.


American Red Cross worker Tella Okubo is helping a volunteer, John Allred, donate his blood. The ROTC sponsored this campaign. Originally published in The Daily Utah Chronicle on April 26, 1961.

By trying out various strategy of advertising the spring blood drive at the University of Utah campus such as giving a strong announcement from the head of army, the participation rate has been significantly recorded higher rate. On May 15, 1961, an award who won the competition by winning for donating the blood most was introduced by Daily Utah Chronicle. Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity and the Air Force ROTC were both awarded the first place for the recent spring blood drive.

Continuance to this award announcement, Utes received another award from Red Cross on May 26, 1961, announced by Daily Utah Chronicle. Red Cross provided an award for university by contribution to their recent blood drive at the campus. A. Ray Olpin had received a reward for representing the University of Utah.

The semiannual blood drive was re-announced through Daily Utah Chronicle on April 16, 1962, about their combined sponsorship from the Army, Air Force and Red cross. The advertisement brought different reasoning for blood donation. The quote from Mr. Streadbeck who was a former coordinator for a blood drive at the University of Utah, was motivating the sympathy and response saying, “You can share your good health by giving blood to the less fortunate”.

‘Spring Blood Drive’ campaign at the University of Utah starting with 39 participants were improved through different advertising strategies by advertising with Daily Utah Chronicle. After a year passed from 1961’s spring blood drive brought a different type of advantages for blood donation. Blood drive institution presented another promising blood for potential participants. Students who regularly donate blood while they are as a student at the University of Utah will get advantage by being served privilege when receiving blood from Red Cross when the participant or their family requires blood having an emergency. Until nowadays, University of Utah holds campaign from College of Health with a same way to motivate student’s blood donation. (Robinson, 2017)

Dabin Kim is a senior at the University of Utah. She is majoring in communication with an emphasis in journalism and film studies.

Primary Sources

“Spring Blood Call Sounds for U Today,” Daily Utah Chronicle, April 25, 1961.

“Campus Spring Blood Drive Continues Today,” Daily Utah Chronicle, April 26, 1961.

“Last Chance to Donate Blood Offered Today,” Daily Utah Chronicle, April 27, 1961.

“Utah Receive Red Cross Award,” Daily Utah Chronicle, May 26, 1961.

“Share Health, Give Blood, Says Official,” Daily Utah Chronicle, April 16, 1962.

“Win Blood Drive,” Daily Utah Chronicle, May 15, 1962.

Secondary Sources

“Remembering the Great War, 1918-2018.” Utah Historical Quarterly 86, no. 3 (Summer 2018). Special issue dedicated to the topic.

Robinson, Zach. “Why Should You Donate Blood,” University of Utah HealthFeed Blog, March 7, 2017.

Watson, Susan. “A History of Service: The American Red Cross During World War I,” Red Cross Chat, American Red Cross, April 10, 2017.