Community Engagement Day With The Red Cross

The local American Red Cross was pleased to host college students who were participating in the Hesselbein Global Academy for Student Leadership and Civic Engagement Student Leadership Summit Community Engagement Day with the University of Pittsburgh. Five students were selected to come to Pittsburgh for four days and tackle an issue that an organization is facing and present a solution. These students worked on a presentation to increase participation with the new Red Cross volunteer website, Volunteer Connection.

The students arrived at the Red Cross this morning at 9 with basic information about the organization. Anna Drenning, youth volunteer specialist for the Western Pennsylvania Region, spent the day teaching the students about the Red Cross organization, reviewing the issue with the students and preparing them to come up with a solution and present it to our staff.  

The students came up with a variety of solutions to create a long-term increase in activity on Volunteer Connection. Their first suggestion implemented a preferences tab, where volunteers could select how they would like to be contacted or if they would like to set up notifications to remind them weekly to log in their volunteer hours. This way volunteers can customize their experience for their lifestyle. Additionally, the students suggested training volunteers (in particular, our younger age groups) to learn how to utilize Volunteer Connection properly so they can not only log in their own hours but so they can assist volunteers who struggle with using the software.

The students also proposed highlighting total volunteer hours on the website to motivate volunteers as well as informing volunteers the dollar equivalent for the hours of service they did. The students even proposed a Volunteer Connection app to engage and encourage younger volunteers to get involved. They felt the app would increase convenience and appeal to younger volunteers. Overall, the presentation included many exciting and creative ideas. The Red Cross would like to extend a thank you to each of the students for traveling to Pittsburgh and sharing such great ideas!From left to right:

Sandra Thiessen, The Kings University College

Janek Sunga, Park University

Norma Denae Dibrell, St.EdwardsUniversity

Ilona Trofimovich, Northwest University

Jigar Panod, Indian Institute of Technology


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