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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University Global partnered with the American Red Cross to launch a “first-of-it’s-kind” virtual Red Cross Club, which will connect Purdue Global students nationwide to collaborate on service projects such as collecting blood, disaster relief and ensuring that the Red Cross has the resources it needs to follow through with its mission.

“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, in a press release. “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.”

The pilot program is being supported by the American Red Cross of Northern New England, which serves Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

“We are incredibly grateful for our partnership with Purdue Global,” said Nicole Evans, executive director of Red Cross of Northern New England Central, in a press release. “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.”

Pelletier echoed this in a press release.

“What we develop in Northern New England could become a model used at colleges and universities across the country,” said Pelletier.

Two Purdue Global staff members volunteered to serve as club advisors: Melinda Linscott and Jan Saeger. Their 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 president Amanda Baldwin, vice president Kacie Good and secretary Tierra Colbert. A treasurer is to be announced soon.

“I’m honored to serve as president for the new American Red Cross Club at Purdue University Global,” Baldwin said in a press release. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in psychology. “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 had orchestrated Purdue Global’s virtual commencement in 2020, said she was excited to see how the students will lead the program.

“I really think it’s going to take off,” Pelletier 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.”