SJU Receives Prestigious Diamond Award

New York Blood Services recently honored St. John’s University’s Community Relations Office with its prestigious Diamond Award, recognizing the 1,071 blood donations collected on the Queens campus during the 2006 year.

St. John’s associates Kevin Ryan and Marge Cashin received the Diamond Award at a ceremony held at Terrace on the Park. Other award recipients included Queens County Courts, NYPD Fleet Services Division and NYC Department of Sanitation for their many blood donations.

According to Ryan, this award is the highest honor the New York Blood Center gives. “We were among the top donating institutions,” said Ryan. “I was very proud of our accomplishment
as an office, the university and fellow staff members who gave blood to help others.”

Over the past few years, Ryan has helped St. John’s garner various awards from New York Blood Services, including a Gold Award in 2004 and a Bronze Award in 2005. “I think it’s deeply the Vincentian culture that is rooted in our students and staff,” he explained. “There is a great focus
on helping others. This is just one of the ways.”

Each year, Community Relations holds approximately 12 blood drives on the Queens campus.
Ryan frequently meets with New York Blood Services representatives to schedule the date,
time and location of the drives a year in advance. He also tries to find a certain group or department within the university to sponsor and promote the drive. Currently, there is a “statewide
appeal,” which is an emergency shortage of blood. Ryan explained that there is a desperate
need for blood, especially during the summer and winter time when there are very few

He emphasized the importance of donating blood because one pint can help a person obtain
a blood transfusion or it can be distributed to as many as five people if the blood is broken
down into its different components. To continue their success, the Office of Community Relations
will hold a special back-to-school blood drive on August 30. Donors at the blood drive will also receive a pair of free tickets to a New York Mets game, adding yet another incentive to give

Ryan explained that the Mets chose St. John’s because they know the university has done
well in the past. A kick-off luncheon will also be held later in the Fall semester to thank those who donated their blood and those who participated in the process.

“It’s wonderful that we can do so much for the community,” Cashin added. “You never know
who you are helping.”