State Champs!

SHU Wins Percentage Title in Michigan Gift of Life Campus Challenge


President Sister Peg Albert, OP, PhD, (far left) and faculty member Danielle Teunion-Smith (middle) accepts the traveling trophy from Gift of Life Michigan Communications Director Tim Makinen (right) during Siena Heights University’s Honors Convocation April 24. Of the 18 state colleges and universities that participated, Siena Heights had the highest percentage of donor registrants to win this year’s Michigan Gift of Life Campus Challenge.


Siena Heights University had the highest percentage of donor registrants to win this year’s Michigan Gift of Life Campus Challenge. Siena Heights was presented with a traveling trophy during its Honors Convocation April 24 that it will display on campus for one year.


Siena Heights competed with 17 other Michigan colleges and universities in a life-saving organ donor drive. The annual Gift of Life Campus Challenge was a six-week contest to see which school could get the most people to sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. Despite being Siena’s first year competing in the event, SHU registered 12.82 percent of its community members (faculty, staff, students) to take first place. The next closest was Wayne State University’s School of Medicine with 9.17 percent.


“The energy and enthusiasm that Siena Heights University brought to organ and tissue donation is refreshing,” said Richard Pietroski, executive director of Gift of Life Michigan. “Siena Heights recognizes that organ donation is about the continuation of life and offering hope to others in need.”


SHU faculty member Danielle Teunion-Smith organized the drive on campus. She helped register 144 people, which was the sixth highest total of all the participating institutions, beating out much larger schools such as Western Michigan University (127) and the University of Michigan (38).


“I had personal reasons for wanting to do this campus challenge,” Teunion-Smith said. “My young niece Katie, 24 years old, died suddenly last May, and was registered and able to donate to the Michigan Gift of Life. This didn't make this tragedy any easier for my family, but it helped knowing that someone else would benefit from our incredible loss. Jon Kleinow, my graduate assistant was right there the whole way with me working hard to register people. I couldn't have done it without him.”


Here are the top five final percentage standings:

  1. Siena Heights University: 12.82 percent
  2. Wayne State University School of Medicine: 9.17 percent
  3. University of Detroit Mercy: 6.57 percent
  4. Northern Michigan University: 2.31 percent
  5. Calvin College: 2.02 percent

In its sixth year, the Gift of Life Campus Challenge has already resulted in more than 21,000 Michigan residents signing up on the state’s Donor Registry. Each Michigan resident who signs up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry received a red heart donor sticker from the Secretary of State to place on the front of the driver’s license or state ID card. 


The Gift of Life Campus Challenge is one of the most successful organ donation college outreach programs in the nation, and has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for its exceptional results. Gift of Life Michigan is the state’s federally designated full service organ and tissue recovery organization, which acts as the intermediary between donors, physicians and hospital staff. Gift of Life Michigan, in collaboration with the Michigan Eye-Bank, provides all services necessary for organ, tissue and eye donation.


Schools who participated in the 2009 Gift of Life Campus Challenge include:

w  Calvin College

w  Ferris State University

w  Glen Oaks Community College

w  Grand Valley State University

w  Kalamazoo Valley Community College

w  Lake Superior State University

w  Michigan State University

w  North Central Michigan College

w  Northern Michigan University

w  Oakland University

w  Siena Heights University

w  Traverse City University Center

w  University of Detroit-Mercy

w  University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

w  Western Michigan University

Meet Siena


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Alyssa Fausneaucht

Sport Management Major, Women's Golf; Adrian Campus

Faculty & Staff

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Gail A. Ryder

Associate Professor of Humanities


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Anthony Butler, '04

Elementary Education Graduate; Director of Campus Ministry, Saint Joseph's (Ind.) College