October 11, 2021

Purdue University Global partners with American Red Cross to launch first-of-its-kind virtual Red Cross Club

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University Global is once again demonstrating its innovative thinking by partnering with the American Red Cross to launch a first-of-its-kind virtual Red Cross Club.

Purdue Global students from across the country will collaborate on Red Cross service projects to help collect lifesaving blood, prepare families for disasters and ensure that the Red Cross has the resources it needs to deliver its mission each day.

“The wonderful thing about virtual clubs is students can help from anywhere, and they don’t need to help in-person,” said Patti Pelletier, senior director of learning and leadership community for Purdue Global and the mastermind of the virtual Red Cross Club. “They can help promote blood drives by getting the word out on social media, set up an online fundraising campaign for disaster relief or even just give an online talk to share what the Red Cross does.

“Another option is being a virtual disaster relief volunteer, where you can directly support disaster relief efforts from your computer. Red Cross Clubs empower individuals with knowledge and lifesaving skills to help prepare them to respond to emergencies.”

As the first of its kind, the pilot club is being supported by the American Red Cross of Northern New England, which serves the 3.2 million residents of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

“What we develop in Northern New England could become a model used at colleges and universities across the country,” said Pelletier, who serves as vice chair on the Red Cross Central and Mid Coast Maine Chapter board of directors.

“We are incredibly grateful for our partnership with Purdue Global,” said Nicole Evans, executive director, Red Cross of Northern New England Central and Mid Coast Maine Chapter. “This innovative approach ensures that both of our organizations have a community engagement pipeline that will serve communities across the country for years to come.”

Two Purdue Global staff members have volunteered to serve as club advisors: Melinda Linscott, Academic Success Center lead tutor; and Jan Saeger, School of Health Sciences adjunct professor. Their primary role is to provide ongoing coaching and support the student-run executive board in the execution of club activities and meetings. The executive board is made up of a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer, providing students with leadership development opportunities.

“The executive board runs the show,” Pelletier said. “They facilitate, lead the meetings and get consensus from the group on what activities are going to be completed.”

Members of the inaugural executive board are:

  • President: Amanda Baldwin, Palm Bay, Florida – pursing a master’s degree in psychology.
  • Vice President: Kacie Good, Angola, Indiana – pursuing a bachelor’s degree in degree in human services.
  • Secretary: Tierra Colbert, Youngsville, Louisiana – pursing a master’s degree in health care administration.
  • Treasurer: TBA.

“I’m honored to serve as president for the new American Red Cross Club at Purdue University Global,” Baldwin said. “As someone who has a desire to help others, I’m excited for the opportunities to volunteer and bring awareness to our communities. I’m looking forward to helping the club grow while supporting the organization’s important mission to alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.”

Pelletier, who orchestrated Purdue Global’s first-of-its-kind virtual commencement in February 2020, is excited for the club’s official unveiling.

“I really think it’s going to take off,” she said. “What the Red Cross does touches so many people, especially in the climate we are in currently. Students who can’t get involved in their community physically can get involved in the Red Cross virtually, so it doesn’t limit anyone. There are so many opportunities.

“What we hope is that students who are involved while they are pursuing their degree will get a fundamental understanding of the Red Cross and then stay involved in their local communities when they graduate. That’s the dream.”

About Purdue University Global

Purdue University Global delivers personalized online education tailored to the unique needs of adults who have work or life experience beyond the classroom, enabling them to develop essential academic and professional skills with the support and flexibility they need to achieve their career goals. It offers personalized paths for students to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, based on their work experience, desired pace, military service, previous college credits and other considerations – no matter where they are in their life journey. Purdue Global is a nonprofit, public university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is affiliated with Purdue University’s flagship institution, a highly ranked public research university located in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue University also operates regional campuses in Fort Wayne and Northwest Indiana, as well as serving science, engineering and technology students at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus. For more information, visit purdueglobal.edu.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission.

Writer/Media Contact, Purdue Global: Tom Schott, 765-427-1721, tschott@purdue.edu

Media Contact, American Red Cross: Jennifer Costa, jennifer.costa@redcross.org

Sources: Patti Pelletier

Amanda Baldwin

Nicole Evans

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