Penn State-Michigan State Blood Donor Challenge kicks off Nov. 4

October 22, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State and Michigan State will face off on the donor beds in the 20th annual Penn State vs. Michigan State Blood Donor Challenge. The challenge begins Nov. 4 and continues through Nov. 21.

This year is a celebration of “20 Years of Helping to Save Lives.” Every year, blood inventories tend to decrease during the holiday season, while patient need remains constant. This competition helps maintain blood inventory levels during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

“Penn State’s students, faculty and staff work hard inside and outside the classroom to make a better world. This friendly competition needs the support of the Penn State community to help save lives,” said Penn State President Rodney Erickson.

Penn State won the challenge by only 19 pints last year. The win came down to an exceptional last day with donations totaling 339 units. Together, Penn State and Michigan State provided the Greater Alleghenies and the Great Lakes regions of the American Red Cross with 3,599 units of blood. With last year’s win, Penn State takes the lead in the series 13-6. The Nittany Lions want to defend the title this year to keep the trophy at home.

“The PSU MSU Challenge exemplifies Penn State’s long record of service. Supporting the Penn State Student Red Cross Club and the work they do on campus is a win for everyone, especially those who depend on lifesaving blood donated by strangers,” Erickson said.

This competition is a chance for the two schools to show their pride by saving lives. While winning gives one school bragging rights for the upcoming year, the goal each year is for both schools to reach the 2,000 units (pints) mark for a total of 4,000 units of blood. Both schools missed this target last year. This year, Penn State’s goal is to do more than beat Michigan State; the Nittany Lions are shooting for 2,000 donations. 

The Blood Cup sponsored by Alpha Epsilon Delta, Penn State’s premedical honors fraternity is another key to making 2,000 units of blood possible. The Blood Cup encourages student organizations to donate blood, pitting student organizations against each other. This competition within the challenge gives organizations the chance to compete in three divisions: Small (fewer than 50 members), Large (50 or more members) or the Social Greek group. The group within each division that has the highest percentage of its membership successfully donating wins the traveling trophy for the year. Last year’s Blood Cup winners were Alpha Phi sorority, Circle K and Springfield THON.

“The challenge is an opportunity for Penn Staters to join together and donate blood for someone in need,” said President Erickson, “Plus, we can sustain our winning tradition over Michigan State. I urge all those who are able to sign up today.”

Just one pint of blood can save up to three lives. This year to beat Michigan State, Penn State needs to continue its time honored tradition of helping others. This November give blood and join the more than 200 student organizations that will be involved in “20 Years of Helping to Save Lives.”

Donors meeting eligibility requirements in the State College area are welcome to give blood during the challenge. All blood drives on campus from Nov. 4 through Nov. 21 will be part of the challenge. All donors will receive a 2013 Blood Donor Challenge T-shirt, while supplies last. Each drive during the challenge will feature pizza or other food.

Making an appointment online is highly suggested at To volunteer at any blood drive, visit

Donors who are 18 years old or younger must meet specific height and weight requirements. In addition, those 16 years old must also have parental consent. All other potential donors must weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health. Please call the Red Cross Donor Client Support Center at 866-236-3276 or visit with specific eligibility questions. All donors should bring their Red Cross donor cards or another form of identification to the blood drive.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 22, 2013