(MURFREESBORO) MTSU will mark Sept. 11 in both a campus- and community-minded "True Blue" way this year, observing the 108th anniversary of the university's founding by helping save lives with neighbors at the annual"Battle of the Branches" blood drive.
The event, co-sponsored by the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center at MTSU and the Department of Health and Human Performance, is set from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11, in Room 322 of the Keathley University Center, located at 1524 Military Memorial Drive in the central section of campus.
Donors can make an appointment now for Sept. 11 by visiting http://ow.ly/Jszr30lJo9Z or using the new "American Red Cross Blood" app, available at http://ow.ly/ogBb30lJqMl, or by texting "BLOODAPP" to 90999. Walk-in donors also are welcome.
A campus parking map is available at http://bit.ly/MTSUParkingMap. Off-campus donors can obtain a one-day permit at http://www.mtsu.edu/parking/visit.php, park in the university's Rutherford Boulevard Lot, and ride the Raider Xpress shuttle to its stop near the KUC.
The "Battle of the Branches" is a friendly competition to encourage more blood donations and thank active-duty and retired military members for their service. The drive also marks the anniversary of the 2001 terror attacks on America, when people across the country lined up for hours in hopes of helping those hurt in New York City, Washington, D.C., and outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
"It seems appropriate to do something as important and life-giving as donating blood on this day," said Daniels Center Director Hilary Miller. "Please join us."
MTSU's blood drive is open to students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and neighbors across Middle Tennessee. Each donor will receive a coupon via email for a free haircut from SportsClips as thanks.
Each donor also can vote for a U.S. military branch: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard. The winning branch will receive a plaque at MTSU's homecoming football game Oct. 26 and have bragging rights until next year's blood drive.
MTSU community donors can save time by completing the required health questionnaire online on Sept. 11, before donating, with the Red Cross's "Rapid Pass," at http://www.redcrossblood.org/rapidpass.
"The American Red Cross urgently needs donors of all blood types to give blood or platelets in support of kids fighting cancer, patients with sickle cell disease and others facing serious illnesses," said Kathy Ferrell, executive director of the Murfreesboro-based Heart of Tennessee Chapter. "Type O and B blood donors are critically needed right now.
"MTSU is an incredible partner in this effort, and we are grateful for the students, faculty, and alumni that always roll up their sleeves to save lives."
MTSU's always had a strong history with America's military. Founded in 1911 to train teachers, then-Middle Tennessee State Normal School truly boomed after World War II, when the GI Bill brought hundreds of veterans seeking four-year degrees to campus.
MTSU continues to serve the military with Tennessee's most comprehensive college facility for student veterans. The Daniels Center, located in KUC Room 124, is a one-stop shop for MTSU's nearly 1,000 student veterans and their families.
Those families, and any other MTSU community member, also could need blood at any time. The American Red Cross Tennessee Valley Blood Services Region, which includes Murfreesboro and Rutherford County, must collect 500 blood donations every day.
The Red Cross currently has less than three days' worth of blood supplies on hand to meet needs nationwide. One donation of whole blood can help three patients, so each donor can have an immediate impact on supplies.
MTSU organizers also are urging local donors to mark their calendars now for the annual "Bleed Blue, Beat WKU" blood drive, set Nov. 18-20, when the university competes with Western Kentucky University to collect the most pints of blood. MTSU has won the friendly challenge for six of the last eight years, collecting 8,705 total pints of blood with WKU since 2010 and helping more than 26,115 people across the region.