Serena Simoni, associate professor and director of Samford’s International Relations Program is a strong advocate of holistic development, the idea that students develop as “whole persons” as they progress through their college experience.
One way to enhance this process, Simoni believes, is through extracurricular activities that help students develop intellectually, emotionally, socially, ethically, physically and spiritually. Thus, her intention to engage Samford students through a Red Cross Club.
“A Red Cross Club is an organized group of registered youth or young adult volunteers committed to serving the Red Cross mission,” Simoni said. “A club like this can empower students to help prepare our university and community to respond to emergencies by giving our students Red Cross knowledge and lifesaving skills.”
These clubs add a unique experiential element to students’ formal education that can be gained only by active participation in their activities. Simoni’s own involvement with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe during the 1990s, for example, taught her the importance of intercultural experiences and honed her ability to work with people from different social, political, and cultural backgrounds.
“To this extent, programs like the Red Cross Club are key,” Simoni said. “This club allows this kind of development because it provides students with opportunities to make a difference by addressing our community’s greatest needs, and it also fosters the development of leadership skills.”
Not only that, Simoni said, students who volunteer with the American Red Cross become part of one of the largest and most effective humanitarian organizations in the world. This affiliation gives students opportunities to participate in mission-related service projects focused on preparedness, blood donations and fundraising. In the process, they can earn community service hours, which may be required for graduation.
Simoni encourages Samford students to maximize their talents, learn new skills, improve their résumés and meet new people by joining this nationwide and international humanitarian service.
“This is a huge opportunity for Samford University to make a difference and have an impact locally and globally,” she said. “Samford’s Red Cross Club will make the world a better place.”