Publication Date

8-2010

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Erika Brady (Director), Dr. Timothy Evans, Dr. Christopher Antonsen

Degree Program

Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology

Degree Type

Master of Arts

Abstract

This thesis focuses on the Blood Drive which takes place during the spring Greek Week event at Western Kentucky University. I primarily investigate the varying methods of negotiating issues of altruism and egoism in terms of the Blood Drive as well as way that the Blood Drive fits into the WKU Greek yearly cycle. I focus on issues of the process of identity in social Greek-letter organizations and how the process of this identity is renegotiated during the Blood Drive and other Greek events.

I interviewed people from several groups for this paper. Initially, I interviewed Blood Donor Recruitment Representatives from the American Red Cross, WKU students associated with the social Greek-letter system and the Blood Drive of Greek Week, and employees of WKU associated with the social Greek-letter system and the Blood Drive of Greek Week. At the event itself I widened my scope to include information provided by Mobile Unit Assistants (MUAs) and other employees of the American Red Cross.

Key conclusions of this paper include that while people may all participate or be involved in the same event, their methods of understanding concepts of altruism and egoism vary with their kinds of association. In turn, their conceptualizations mirror those developed by social scientists in the last two hundred years. Also, the issues of separation and integration, processes to do with identity, are central to the events of the Greek calendar year and the Blood Drive event in particular.

Disciplines

Folklore | Other Medicine and Health Sciences | Social and Cultural Anthropology