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College senior Alexis Allen sat in the common room of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity on Thursday, affixing to her shirt a small American Red Cross pin -- her reward for giving a gallon of blood over her lifetime. "I was all excited," said Allen, a Chi Omega sister who started giving blood when she was 17. "I was waiting for this." About 60 Greeks and non-Greeks gave blood at Phi Kap last week as part of the InterFraternity Council and Panhellenic Council's first joint Red Cross blood drive. The IFC held a blood drive last spring, and individual fraternities and sororities have held drives, but this is the first year IFC and Panhel have collaborated. According to IFC Vice President for Community Service Mark Zimring, who helped organize the event, IFC and Panhel decided to hold the drive because the Red Cross blood supply was running very low -- unexpected winter storms and a particularly bad flu season depleted the supply, he said. "It's an easy way to make an impact in the community and save some lives," Zimring said. "I'd like to see it become an annual event." Panhel Civic Committee Co-chair Jenny Turner, an Alpha Chi Omega sister and another of the drive's organizers, said the blood drive was an attempt to change their community service tactics from fundraisers to more intensive efforts. "We're trying to get the Greek community involved in giving of themselves," said Turner, a College junior. Turner's co-chair, Delta Delta Delta sister Lisa Zigarmi, agreed. "[We're looking to do] more hands-on work -- not so much fundraisers but involvement within the community," the College sophomore said. Like Allen, many of the other blood donors at Phi Kap had given blood before. For College freshman and Phi Sigma Sigma pledge Jamie Rosenthal, yesterday was her third donation. "It's a good cause," she said. "I have enough to go around." Rosenthal also offered advice to people donating blood for the first time. "It's not bad," she said. "You may be scared that you have a needle in you for 10 minutes, but just relax. It's a time to think about things -- you can't do anything else." College freshman Amanda Sadacca -- who had given blood three times before -- agreed. "It's not scary at all," the Alpha Chi pledge said. "Just eat a lot before and after -- which for most people isn't a problem." This year's drive drew about 20 more donors than last year's, which was co-sponsored by the American Red Cross and the IFC and held at the St. Elmo's fraternity. According to Zimring, the Greeks hope to get even more students to donate blood next year by advertising to more of the campus. "We want to involve not only the Greek community, but the entire University," he said.

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