By Rosie Wenrich, Marymount Manhattan College
Marymount Manhattan College is a small liberal arts college in New York City with a growing biology program. The biology major consists of 40-50 students, allowing ample amounts of one-on-one attention for students and teachers, as well as multiple in-house research opportunities. A vital area for student involvement is Marymount Manhattan’s ASBMB Student Chapter (comprised of the Science Society and pre-med student clubs). The clubs integrate students with many different interests in science, including biology, environmental science, pre-med, and non-science majors. All students of these clubs become members of the ASBMB Student Chapter, gaining access to all of the resources of the ASBMB and involving themselves in outreach activities, as well as educational and research opportunities within Marymount Manhattan College.
For ten consecutive years, Marymount Manhattan College’s ASBMB Student Chapter has held an event to raise awareness for organ donation and to help people register as organ donors in the state of New York. The mad scientists of Marymount Manhattan (aka Biology majors) hosted this year’s “Give Us Your Organs” event in collaboration with Long Live New York, a branch of the national Donate Life organization. The event included information on the benefits of organ donation and the opportunity to register as an organ donor through Long Live New York. Students and faculty who chose to register received “Long Live NY” t-shirts, water bottles, bags and bracelets, and gummy body parts and eyeball lollipops. The enthusiasm of the students in informing their peers on the benefits of organ donation was inspiring, as well as that of the students and faculty who participated and registered. This year, the Science Society enrolled 50 new members to the registry.
Long Live New York is a not-for-profit, federally designated organ procurement organization. The goal of the organization is to spread awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation throughout the state, as well as to register people in the state of New York as organ donors. Long Live NY is a part of a national organization, Donate Life, which strives to facilitate high-performing organ registries and motivate the public to register as organ and tissue donors through focused organizations in each state. These organizations allow for almost one million tissue transplants and almost 30,000 organ transplants to be performed each year.
More than 10,000 people in the state of New York alone are currently waiting for organ transplants. Every organ donor can potentially save eight of these lives. In addition to the 50 newly registered donors, the entire MMC community gained an increase in knowledge and an exposure to the dialogue regarding organ donation.
It is apparent when holding the event that many in the community are ill-informed about the facts of organ donation. Clarifying issues, such as the fact that a funeral is still possible after donating organs, often made a difference in someone’s decision to register. Fact sheets provided by Long Live New York were an incredibly effective tool in clarifying common misconceptions of many potential donors.
To further raise awareness for the cause, the MMC Student Chapter will also host a panel discussion by organ recipients and family members of organ donors in the spring semester. The MMC Student Chapter received funding and support for these activities through an ASBMB Outreach grant and is proud to spread awareness for saving lives through organ donation for yet another year.
To learn more about the ASBMB Outreach grant, click here.