Campus Ambassadors head to colleges nationwide to add donors to the registry
Recruitment Manager Traci Ackerman (l) leads the program. Richaele Nichiporenko, Associate Director of Medical Services (r), explains the blood stem cell collection process.
Gift of Life’s highly successful Campus Ambassador Program (CAP) is off to a great start for the Fall 2021 semester, with 300+ college students from over 130 institutions across the country participating. The Campus Ambassadors will serve their internships by making educational presentations about Gift of Life to student organizations on campus, and in inviting students to join the registry.
On July 28, 2021, the Campus Ambassadors attended a virtual CAP Symposium, where they were introduced to the Gift of Life staff they’ll be working with, learned more about the organization, our mission and their potential to save lives. The online session was followed up with training sessions in specific areas, such as making presentations, organizing volunteers and promoting events on campus.
Recruitment Manager Traci Ackerman leads the program.
“We are excited to see the enthusiasm of the Fall 2021 CAPs for our lifesaving mission,” said Traci. “They are already scheduling events well into November and have set high goals for themselves. Since most donors requested by transplant centers are between 18 and 35 (because of better outcomes for the patient), the volunteers they bring to the registry will be saving lives for years to come.”
Since the program was formalized in 2015, it has grown to become one of the most important methods for educating the public and finding new blood stem cell and bone marrow donors. To date, the program has brought 62,075 new donors into the registry, resulting in 1,716 matches for patients and 211 lifesaving transplants for patients batting blood cancer and more than 70 other diseases.
During the initial year of the COVID pandemic in 2020, the student interns, called “CAPs,” had to shift gears from tabling events on campus to recruiting their peers via online events and virtual drives. With campuses reopening this fall, the CAPs are excited for the chance to make in-person presentations and bring needed donors into the registry.
“One of my favorite parts of the CAP Symposium was seeing so many happy faces with a unified goal,” said Ethan Rockitter, Campus Ambassador for SUNY Binghamton University. “I can't wait to get back to work this fall. Swab to Cure!”
The Campus Ambassador Program internships are awarded on a rolling basis, and college students may apply at any time. Graduate students are also welcome to participate. Visit www.campusambassador.org for details or to apply to the program.