CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The University of Charleston held a blood drive Monday kicking off its spring “Blood Battle” between them and West Virginia State University.

It’s a twice-a-year event the local universities compete in with one another to help out the American Red Cross and see who can donate the most blood.

Students, faculty and staff, as well as community members at both institutions come out and give blood during the event on the campuses, and the pints of blood from both schools are then counted up to see which one takes home the trophy.

UC Marketing and Communications Vice President Ella Curry said it’s a way the schools can give back to help those who need blood.

“While we are competitive, it is about helping the community and it’s about saving lives, “Curry said.

The competition is held once in the spring and in the fall. Curry said UC won the competition in the fall, and by the looks of the steady flow of donors coming in Monday during the event on their campus, she said they are hopeful of keeping their winning record again this time around.

Curry said while the event is ultimately about helping others, the competition-style set up gets students motivated to give back.

“Competition, I mean, it really motivates everyone and our students are very competitive,” she said. “You know, not everybody is comfortable giving blood, but we do see lots of students, faculty and staff come out and donate.”

Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood after suffering from accidents or burns, or those undergoing surgery, battling cancer, among other reasons. Since there is an ongoing need for blood, blood drives are critical in gathering enough people to get on board with the initiative.

Curry said giving blood can be intimidating, but Red Cross staff makes it as easy as possible.

“People have an idea that it’s going to hurt or that it’s going to be gross, that is absolutely not the case, if you’ve never given blood, it’s easy, the staff with the Red Cross are very professional, they make it as painless as possible,” Curry said.

She said once participants give blood, Red Cross workers will monitor them to make sure they are alright. Snacks and water are provided.

Both UC and WVSU held their first blood drive as part of the Blood Battle event Monday.

UC will hold another blood drive as part of the event Tuesday, Feb. 20 in the Geary Student Union on its campus from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

WVSU will hold its second blood drive on Wednesday, Feb. 21 in the James C. Wilson Student Union on its campus, also from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Interested donors must register for both blood drives. Once on the website, enter either UC or WVSU into the “Find a Blood Drive” search bar to register at either school.

The results of this year’s spring Blood Battle will be announced at the men’s basketball game between the universities on March 2 in Institute.