The wheels on the Tri-County Blood bus go round, round, round… all the way to Isla Vista.

Today FIJI (Phi Gamma Delta), ATO (Alpha Tau Omega), Theta (Kappa Alpha Theta) and Alpha Phi will be hosting a blood drive in conjunction with the Tri-County Blood Bank in front of FIJI located at 765 Embarcadero del Norte. The Tri-County Blood Bank bus will be parked in front of the FIJI house from 1 to 5p.m.

FIJI Philanthropy Chairman and junior sociology major John Graass said last year his fraternity and one other sorority held a similar drive in the winter.

“We’ve been holding a drive Winter Quarter for a while, but I’m trying to do one a quarter this year. Last year we did it with one other sorority and we got around 40 pints of blood,” Graass said. “We doubled the fraternities and sororities participating, so that we can get more people out there and give back to the community.”

Assistant Community Relations for the Tri-County Blood Bank Kathy Garber said that there are four centers that operate within the Tri-County Blood Bank.

“Our goal for each center is to collect 150 units of blood per day, which is distributed to the 16 hospitals located between here and Salinas,” Garber said.

Blood is collected from drives like the one being held today as well as visitors to the center Monday through Friday. Garber said all blood types are needed because there is such high demand in this area.

“We had a drive last Wednesday in Corwin Pavilion and 87 units were yielded,” she said. “All of the blood is distributed locally, we never have any extra to give away.”

Graass said he has contacted a number of media venues to try to get the word out and encourage people to come out and donate.

“The record [for a blood drive] is 120 pints, so my goal is to beat that,” he said.

Local politicians will be at the blood drive location around 2 p.m. to donate and show their support. Among those attending are 23rd District Congresswoman Lois Capps, Goleta Mayor Margaret Connell and some members of the Santa Barbara City Council.

“It’s open to anyone. That’s why we’re calling it the UCSB blood drive. We want anyone to show up and bring as many friends as possible. Even if you can’t donate, stop by. We’ll have cookies and stuff,” Graass said. “Engine 17 and the paramedics will be there and hopefully the [Isla Vista] Foot Patrol as well.”

Garber said a cancer patient receiving rigorous treatment can receive over 500 blood products during the course of a year of treatment. Blood products are the various substances extracted from blood such as red blood cells, platelets, etc.

“We give lots of [blood] to accident and trauma patients, of course lots of cancer patients, and leukemia and hemophilia are also major receivers,” she said. “One thing for students who are donating for the first time to remember is to come well hydrated, well fed and have a picture ID. We want people to have a good experience if they are donating for the first time so that they will donate again.”

If anyone is interested in donating, but cannot attend today’s drive, donators are welcome at the Tri-County Blood Bank, located downtown at 902 Laguna St. The center is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 965-7037 to schedule an appointment.