With this weekend’s highly anticipated football showdown with undefeated Ohio State University fast approaching, many students on campus are perfecting various team spirit techniques in time for the big game. But aside from loading up on alcohol and firing up the grills, there is another great way to capture the spirit of the heated rivalry and help save lives at the same time: The 21st Annual UM/OSU Blood Battle. A project of co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, the Blood Battle, which runs through Nov. 22, pits Michigan students against Ohio State students to see which university can donate the most pints of blood to the American Red Cross.

While upsetting the Buckeye’s football team may seem like a daunting task, Michigan can still reign victorious in the Blood Battle. In fact, even though Ohio State beat Michigan at the Big House last year, we still prevailed in the Blood Battle. This year it is important to defend our title. However, Ohio State has jumped out to a lead because their blood drive began earlier (cheaters!) and many more donations are needed to make a comeback.

The critical importance of donating blood is self-evident: You give people the chance to live. However, the number of donors is down from last year, which saw many people donate in response to the Sept. 11 tragedies. Although a year has passed, blood is still needed across the United States, especially in Southern Michigan – one pint of blood is enough to help save four people. Furthermore, this year’s drive for the first time offers the opportunity to register for bone marrow donations, another crucially important cause.

Furthermore, people should give blood at least once so that they can determine their blood type. Since some blood types are more rare than others, it is especially important that students with hard to find blood give and give often.

The Blood Battle continues through Friday, when the Blood Drop Trophy will be awarded to the winning school. Drives take place at a variety of campus locations including the Union and the University Hospital. For times and more information visit www.umbloodbattle.org and make sure to do your part to support your team, your school and the human race all at once.

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