IAN LACK Reporter

Medical Laboratory Science Club unites patients with student donors

South Dakota State University offers a wide variety of clubs to support a range of diverse students with interests in multiple fields. Activities within these clubs involve meets and practices, fundraising and many other events sponsored by the clubs. But, one club on campus strives to go beyond the campus and into medical centers across the globe.

The Medical Laboratory Club is just one of 200 department associated student organizations recognized by SDSU. Made up of about 50 students, most of its members are students with a particular interest in health care.

Meetings are held on the third Thursday of every month in Avera at 5 p.m. Members typically discuss upcoming fundraising events at these meetings, like basketball and football concessions and other club activities. However, the club also seeks to provide opportunities of socialization among the common-interest students.

“In addition to our other club interests, I think we’re really focused on having fun and meeting other med students within the club,”said Amanda Royseth, MLS club president.

There are no membership dues to join and the club pays for the students’ membership to ASCLS, the American Society of Clinical Laboratory Science, which the club is accredited through.

The club also prepared for their most important sponsored event, Be the Match, which is a national marrow donor program. The event takes place during blood cancer awareness month in September.

“It’s the biggest event that we do,” said event coordinator Amanda Horn. “Most of the fundraising we do goes to that and we also train all of our members to assist students for the drive.”

The MLS club used fundraising proceeds to reserve the Lewis and Clark room in the Student Union and advertise for the event on Sept. 22. In all, the club was able to sign up about 200 students to donate to patients, if indeed they are able to match, which is the uncertain part for patients.

After contact information was taken from students at the drive, each student had their mouths swabbed to determine whether or not they would be able to match to someone around the globe. However, there is only about a one in 540 chance that someone will be able to donate because of the biological requirements for donation.

Teresa Binkley is a Be the Match peer-to-peer volunteer as well as an SDSU research associate and assistant professor. She was diagnosed with leukemia in 2009, but was paired with a donor from Germany through Be the Match and was able to receive a life-saving stem cell transplant in 2011. Working closely with the MLS club, Binkley was taken aback by the work that the club has been doing.

“The MLS Club is a really great pre-professional club to be in,” Binkley said. “I’ve worked with other student groups that haven’t been nearly as organized or as responsible and [I] was very impressed with these guys.”

To sign up for Be the Match and see more information about the drive, go to

The MLS club’s next meeting will be held on Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. in Room 027 in Avera.