Capital Region Gives: Rolling up their sleeves to give back

SUNY Cobleskill honored by Red Cross for highest blood donation percentage
Times Union

Published 9:41 pm, Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Kia Lamica red cross scholarship winner resized


Serving as Student Government Association president at the SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill, Kia Lamica has grown accustomed to tabling an issue.

Lamica, a sophomore who will receive a dairy science associate degree this month, credits another form of tabling for her school’s continued success in collecting blood donations for the American Red Cross.

“We usually have two to three days of tabling before a blood drive, to distribute information and encourage as many people as possible to sign up,” said Lamica, 20, a Malone native. “We set up information tables in the most high-traffic areas, like the dining hall, to increase our reach.”

For the seventh consecutive year, SUNY Cobleskill was recognized by the Red Cross Life Share Program as having the highest participation rate among four-year SUNY schools in collecting blood donations for the nonprofit human service organization.

The rate, which equates to more than 20 percent of the student body giving blood, earned the college a Platinum Standard Life Share Level distinction.

With it comes a scholarship for one member of the Student Government Association, which has sponsored blood drives on campus for the past nine years.

SUNY-Red Cross Scholarships range from $250 to $2,000.

Lamica was presented with a $2,000 scholarship this year for her leadership efforts.

“Kia’s strong leadership helped us to once again be number one in blood donation percentage among SUNY schools,” said Jeff Foote, director of the Student Life Center. “In my opinion, she raised the bar to a new level in terms of SGA member participation and overall awareness.”

SUNY Cobleskill holds four blood drives a year, two per semester, staffed by members of the Student Government Association. The college collected 518 units of blood this school year.

A unit is roughly the equivalent of one pint, which can help save the lives of up to three people.

More than 1,500 people may have benefited from blood donations made at the school from September through April alone. “It’s quite an accomplishment,” Foote said.

The American Red Cross is the largest single supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. Nearly 4 million people donate blood through the Red Cross annually, helping to provide more than 40 percent of the country’s blood supply.

In addition, the Red Cross responds to about 70,000 disasters every year, ranging from home fires that affect a single family to hurricanes and earthquakes that affect thousands. The organization is also the nation’s leading provider of health and safety courses, like CPR, first aid and lifeguard training.

For students like Lamica — who will pursue a bachelor of technology degree in animal science with a focus on dairy production at SUNY Cobleskill’s new Center for Environmental Sciences and Technologies and the $38.7 million Center for Agricultural and Natural Resources scheduled to open in the fall — the partnership with the Red Cross is just beginning.

“SUNY Cobleskill has established a culture of giving blood, and there’s a good group of kids that are actively involved,” said Steve Leary, a Red Cross senior account manager. “It’s important to get younger people to donate because hopefully, they’ll be donors for the rest of their lives.” @JenSPatterson 518-454-5340


Give the gift of life

For information about volunteering with the Northeastern New York Red Cross chapter and upcoming blood drives, go to