In 2011, after transferring to Georgia College and State University (GCSU) as a sophomore, Barrett Roell donated blood at an American Red Cross blood drive hosted by GCSU. After donating, he became interested in other ways he could become involved with the blood drives.
GCSU had been hosting blood drives for years, five per year. However, each drive has been small, inadequately staffed and organized, and poorly advertised. Roell changed that. He became a volunteer at the drives, making himself available in whatever way he could. He clocked hundreds of hours in his volunteer work with the drives.
In April 2012, Roell became the president of the GCSU blood drives. In his new role, Roell made tremendous changes in the structure of the drives. He completely overhauled and expanded the drives, turning them into a smooth, efficient process, greatly increasing the amount of blood collected, and hugely spreading campus awareness of the importance of donating blood. He organized a huge advertising campaign to promote the blood drives and used social media for marketing, posters, email lists, and tabling. He made advance sign-ups for the drives possible by tabling all day every day for a week prior to each drive.
Roell ‘s work with the blood drives serves three populations: the donors, developing student leaders, and, most importantly of all, individuals in need of blood. The blood drive program that existed on the GCSU campus prior to Roell’s arrival was in need of a strong leader, and he became that leader. Many people wanted to donate blood on the GCSU campus, but did not have and easy or convenient way to do so. Roell made it easy and convenient for them. When Roell became president of the drives, he began working one-on-one with student volunteers at the drives, and helped them find ways to use their abilities for the good of the community.
Essentially, Roell galvanized the campus community, helping people who had a generalized desire to do something for the world, channel their energy into a concrete way of helping people. As far as his own plans after graduation: Roell says that no matter where he goes, if there is not a blood drive there already, there will be.