COLUMBIA — For four days, American Red Cross donor recruitment representative Craig Jackson considered the Hearnes Center his home.
Jackson and about 200 Red Cross staff members worked 12 to 14 hour days during MU's Homecoming Blood Drive from Oct. 3 to Oct. 6 to reach a goal of 5,000 pints of donated blood. The goal was set in place for MU's centennial homecoming year.
On Thursday, staff members tallied up 4,839 pints and will continue striving for the 5,000-pint goal via satellite donations across the nation. The tally broke the Red Cross's national record for four-day blood drives, which was previously set by MU in 2001.
Because one pint of blood helps save three lives, these 4,839 pints will aid almost 15,000 people.
"That's a competitive bunch at Mizzou," Jackson said.
At last year's understaffed blood drive, donors waited in long lines and traveled across the Hearnes Center from check-in to waiting areas. Red Cross staff members began working last October to design a more efficient drive, and MU blood drive committee members joined in April.
Several quality assurance Red Cross members worked to design the drive with eight pod stations that each functioned independently. This redesign allowed donors to flow through the donation process with little congestion. The more than 700 volunteers also aided in systematically directing traffic.
MU blood drive committee member Hannah Bartfield said it felt surreal to wait during the last hour for the final tally to be counted.
"We knew that no matter what, we were going to set a record," Bartfield said. "But we were still anxiously awaiting. There were lots of hugs and pats on the back."
Satellite donations will continue throughout the nation until Wednesday, Oct. 12. These donations will help MU and the Red Cross reach out to blood centers on a national level. Those who want to help can donate blood and have their pint credited to MU.