A new scholarship is being offered to students to encourage blood donations, specifically convalescent plasma, to help current COVID-19 patients heal from the virus. The scholarship of up to $1,000 is available until Feb. 28.

The scholarship is being hosted and organized by Vitalant, a nonprofit blood services provider.

To qualify for the COVID Rescue Team scholarship, each student must host a virtual blood drive by asking their friends and family to donate blood at a local donation center or blood drive. According to Vitalant’s student scholarship page, students must pre-register their blood drive with a Vitalant Donor Recruitment Representative beforehand. 

Thirty blood donations are required to win a $500 scholarship. More than 50 donations will award the student $750, and more than 75 donations will award the student the full $1,000 prize. A convalescent plasma donation counts as three donations and whole blood donations will count as one donation.

Each student leader who signs up will receive a link unique to them to share among their peers. All donations made through their designated link will count toward their donation goal.

Cal Poly’s campus blood drives were just a few of the many drives across the country that were forced to shut down due to the pandemic, negatively impacting the number of donations available to COVID-19 patients, according to Vitalant Donor Recruitment Representative Laura Kamada.  

“We lost around 250 pints of blood,” Kamada said. “One pint of blood can save up to three lives. Multiply that out across the nation.”

More than 1,015 Cal Poly students have tested positive for coronavirus as of Monday, Jan. 11. If every student who has recovered from COVID-19 donated blood, more than 2,800 lives could potentially be saved.

Scholarships will be distributed on March 31, directly to the student’s university under their name.

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