The University Blood Initiative is a grassroots organization dedicated to combating local blood shortages by empowering, educating, and mobilizing the next generation of blood donors, but what does that mean?
What is a grassroots organization?
To understand us and what we do a little better, it’s good to understand what we mean by grassroots. As defined by communitycatalyst.org, a grassroots organization is
“A process of building power by involving a constituency in identifying both the problems they share and the solutions to those problems, identifying the targets that could make those solutions possible, engaging with those targets through negotiation, confrontation and pressure, and developing the capacity to take on further problems.” In short, it is a local group of people, brought together by an issue that directly impacts them, working to make change, spreading to reach an increasingly larger community. Though there may be leaders for the sake of organization, a grassroots campaign is led from the ground, not by powerful figures or elected officials. It is change built by the power of collective voices making themselves heard.
How is the UBI a grassroots organization?
The UBI is unique in that we are formed of a coalition of young blood donors united in our commitment to public health. While we have a number of fantastic partner organizations, are not associated with any major blood donation centers (like the Red Cross), and we are not health care professionals or policy makers. We are just a group of ordinary people, predominantly university students, who have seen the effects of a national blood crisis and are determined to do something about it. Our organization is made up of volunteers and national chapters coordinating with peers and local centers, largely but not exclusively through social media, building support from the ground level up, rather than the other way around.
Though we provide a support network, we trust the individual work of our volunteers, chapters, and Responders to make an impact we can see on a national scale. Community organization adds up, and we’re working to boost the country’s blood supply one local center at a time. Because of this, we need your help to organize in your community! Learn more and register to found a campus chapter of the UBI here, or volunteer with our COVID Code Red campaign here.
And, of course, take to social media--we couldn’t do our work without it. If you do choose to donate or volunteer, and we hope you do, let us know! Take a selfie or a quick photo of the site and post with the hashtags #DonateRed #CovidCodeRed #NowMoreThanEver to join our COVID Code Red campaign and help spread the word. We might even feature you in one of our Donor Tuesdays!