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College Boasts Pair of Cortaca Victories

College Boasts Pair of Cortaca Victories


There's the Cortaca Jug football game, billed as “the biggest little game in the nation” by Sports Illustrated many years ago, which for massive crowds of onlookers yielded a narrow victory for SUNY Cortland on Saturday, Nov. 15, at SUNY Cortland.

Then there's the other, equally committed Cortaca competition between the College and a collegiate foe in Ithaca, N.Y.

The 2014 Cortaca Battle — the one in which students from SUNY Cortland and Ithaca College attempt to score pints of blood, not touchdowns or field goals — has ended.

And for a second year running in the three-year-old competition, the winner’s cup goes to the Red Dragons.

SUNY Cortland volunteer students, faculty and staff supplied the American Red Cross (ARC) Binghamton District with 105 units, or 87.5 percent of this year’s College goal, during the two-day drive on Nov. 3 and 4 at both schools, ARC officials noted.

Meanwhile, Ithaca College met 78 percent of its own goal.

“I think it’s phenomenal that SUNY Cortland won,” said Sheila Sullivan, customer service representative the ARC Binghamton District. “I congratulate SUNY Cortland and I also hope they win this weekend.”

At SUNY Cortland a service fraternity — the Alpha Zeta Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Omega (APO) — sponsored the special blood drive in the Corey Union Exhibition Lounge. APO also helps organize and run all other campus ARC blood drives throughout the year, through the Division of Student Affairs.

The fraternity members staffed tables in Corey Union to encourage students to schedule giving their pint of hemoglobin and plasma in advance rather than simply showing up on Nov. 3 or 4. APO also posts signs around campus to inform classmates about the competition.

“They were very, very determined,” Sullivan said. She noted that Nancy Brady, the Binghamton District ARC’s account manager for donor recruitment, had told her about the team’s dedicated effort.

“They just went above and beyond and gave 200 percent,” Sullivan said. “They were constantly going out and bringing the kids back in. Without their determination they wouldn’t have won. It shows the character and determination of the students at SUNY Cortland.”

Ithaca College won the competition in 2012, the Cortaca Battle’s first year, when a straight count of blood unit donations determined the winning institution. 

The campuses differ in population, so for the most recent two years victory has belonged to the college that achieves the highest overall percentage of its student population goal and grows in participation compared to the year before.

In the 2013 competition, SUNY Cortland met its goal and achieved 75 blood donations, an increase of 20 units over the year before. This year, the College increased its contributions by 30 units.

A second year of victory shows a commitment to the blood drive efforts of the American Red Cross, Sullivan said.

“I wish to extend my gratitude to the volunteers and to all the students who donated,” she said.