Citrus College student Crescencio Calderon wanted to prove that students can make a significant difference when working together for a cause.
That’s exactly what happened when the college’s annual Cesar Chavez Blood Drive drew 540 students who donated enough blood to potentially save lives.
Calderon, a 20-year-old political science student and Citrus Community College District student trustee-elect, spearheaded the blood drive that paid tribute to the labor leader and civil rights activist who co-founded the United Farm Workers (UFW).
The Cesar Chavez Blood Drive is an annual national competition organized by the Immigrant Youth of America and the Red Cross. According to migrantstudents.org it is designed to engage college students to promote health education, health/science professions, civic engagement and save lives.
Calderon indicated there were a number of Citrus College student clubs involved in the event as volunteers. Even though the recent blood drive at the Campus Center was an official Associated Students of Citrus College (ASCC) sanctioned event, Calderon presented the project to the Inter-Club Council (ICC) and initiated a contest whereby the club that recruited the most donors would receive a trophy.
“I wanted to encourage as many clubs as possible to participate, and also to heavily recruit for the event,” stated Calderon. He added the event would not have been nearly as successful without the participation of student volunteers, including Helping find Opportunities in the Pursuit of Education (H.O.PE.), a college club consisting mostly of AB 540 students. H.O.P.E. won the trophy for the most donors, but Latinos Unidos Student Association (L.U.S.A.), Gay Straight Alliance (G.S.A.), Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and Cheer Club also participated.
“It was very satisfying seeing our members donate their time and blood for a higher cause,” said Alejandra Morales, a 19-year old biology major and vice president of leadership for Phi Theta Kappa, who stated she volunteered for the entire event from preparation to the blood drive.
“This blood drive, one of the most successful ever at Citrus College, was organized by an undocumented student, and run by undocumented students. As far as I know it’s the best turnout we’ve had in the last 20 years,” said Calderon. He added that Chavez is one of his idols, and he is inspired by his legacy. “He fought for the rights of migrant workers. I was very motivated by this aspect of it, being the best of the best, but also demonstrating that being undocumented should not be a barrier to success.”
“This was a wonderful learning opportunity for the students,” said Joanne Montgomery, president of the Citrus College Board of Trustees. “They experienced first-hand what it means to be involved in service learning; the end result was they helped to save a lot of lives.”
-- Citrus College