A Union College student club is assisting disaster response efforts.
The Union College Red Cross Club has been called into action to manage a multi-agency warehouse in Omaha for donations coming from around the country for victims of the March 2019 flooding across the state of Nebraska, in the United States.
Union College Red Cross Club members, mostly international rescue and relief (IRR) students and faculty, used their disaster management training to get the warehouse up and running and will continue to manage volunteers and accept, organize, and distribute donations over the coming weeks.
Rick Young, director of Union College’s IRR program and Disaster Relief Coordinator for Kansas-Nebraska Adventist Community Services (ACS) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, wanted to give his students the opportunity to put their classroom learning to work in a large-scale disaster situation.
“Our students help out with Red Cross calls on a regular basis, but those are usually structure fires that involve a single family or a few families,” Young said. “Floods are impacting many hundreds of people across the state, and managing a donations warehouse is something that our students learn how to do in the classroom but don’t always get to experience firsthand.”
As donations began to pour in from local sources and around the country, officials of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) asked the Nebraska Volunteers Organizations Active in Disasters (NEVOAD) to manage donations. Per an agreement with both NEMA and NEVOAD, Kansas-Nebraska ACS is responsible for managing donated goods for a warehouse used jointly by many other agencies, including the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
About Union College IRR Program
Union College is a Seventh-day Adventist school located in Lincoln, Nebraska, United States. According to the school, its international rescue and relief program prepares students for careers in public safety, community development, and the medical field. The program combines rigorous coursework and a variety of emergency and disaster management certifications with hands-on training such as wilderness survival and rescue in Colorado, United States, and an overseas semester for learning about global health in a developing nation.