Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Students Host Blood Drive

Three organizations representing some of the world’s major religions came together yesterday for a blood drive on North Campus. Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC), Kedma: Cornell’s Orthodox Jewish Voice, and the Muslim Educational and Cultural Association (MECA) cosponsored the after-Thanksgiving blood drive yesterday at Robert Purcell Community Center.

The national blood supply is especially low this time of year, and the blood drive hosted by these three organizations will contribute significantly to the supply. The drive is thought of as an opportunity for students and the community to show what they are thankful for and to serve as a reminder that while at Cornell, there are still opportunities to give.

Blood donations are consistent with the values of all three religious groups sponsoring the event. “Many are familiar with the Christian ideals of charity; however, it is also important to note that giving blood is viewed as a high form of kindness in both Judaism and Islam as well. Donating blood matches with the Jewish philosophy of Tzedakah and the Islamic pillar of Zakah, which both strive for justice and charity in bettering the world,” said Jason Fair ’07, vice president of public affairs for Kedma.

“Donating blood is also an extremely meaningful form of kindness, because as American Red Cross data shows, one donation can save up to three lives. Together, we can learn that all three of our religions share a common purpose — even amongst the most religious,” Fair said.

Despite the differences between the students in attendence, there was a large amount of conversation between attendees. About 50 donors contributed to the blood drive.

“I donated once before, and I wanted to donate again. It’s convenient that it’s right here in RPCC,” said Brad Bortee ’08.

Kosher and halal snacks were available for participants, considering religious diets. Kedma, CCC and MECA hope to work together in future events to strengthen the ties between the groups. There is talk of making this blood drive an annual event.

“We hope that together we can show unity in purpose, improve the world, and learn from one another. Religion is one of the most powerful forces in the world today — it is important that we use this power to bring us together and realize that together, we can truly accomplish many great, positive things,” Fair said.

Kedma is the Orthodox Judaism organization at Cornell. It provides for the religious and social needs of Orthodox Jews, is dedicated to upholding Orthodox values and maintains a comfortable atmosphere for Orthodox students. Kedma provides focused, well-resourced programs and events for Orthodox students and the Cornell community at large.

CCC is made up of students from varying religious and social backgrounds who are looking for a chance to grow in their Christian belief.

“Our pursuit is to know better who Jesus is and to beco

me more like him,” said Stephen Jackson ’07. MECA helps organize Muslim services on campus and aims to bring together students to raise understanding of Islam and its culture. Past events include Ramadan dinners, Eid services and social events, such as picnics and cultural nights.

In organizing this blood drive, Kedma wanted to incorporate other religious groups because Thanksgiving is a time when religious solidarity is important.

“Kedma hopes to work with CCC and MECA more in the future to continue to make this campus a compassionate and caring place, as well as one that is respectful and welcoming of all religions,” Fair said.


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