Students learn to handle disasters through joint ISU-Red Cross class

December 6 2006

Social workers are often on the front lines when it comes to caring for those in need. A unique course at Indiana State University is designed to further train social work majors to serve in a front-line capacity in the event of a disaster.

A joint effort of the ISU Social Work Department and the American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter, Social Work 400 teaches students how to conduct disaster damage assessment, save lives with CPR, and connect military families through the Red Cross.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to help better prepare our community for disasters and other emergencies by expanding the number of trained people at ISU, with both the necessary knowledge and practical hands-on experience," said Bonnie Lu, American Red Cross Wabash Valley chapter emergency services director. "We have benefited locally by students actually volunteering for the chapter, and one of last year's students now is a young adult member on our chapter board of directors."

After learning skills such as how to manage a Red Cross disaster shelter and provide disaster relief to families, students participate in a mock disaster to practice their skills and test their knowledge.

"Our students are learning skills and achieving certifications that they can take with them after graduation and use elsewhere," said Robyn Lugar, interim department chair and assistant professor of social work. "Our Social Work students are taught that it is not just their case load that is important, but their commitment and involvement in their communities."

The class meets from 8 to 9:15 a.m. every Thursday, and will be offered again in the spring 2007 semester. Since it started last spring, it has attracted a diverse group of students, such as international students and ISU faculty, Lugar said.

"We build opportunities for community engagement into our courses here at ISU, and this project is a concrete example of how the university and the community can benefit each other by working together," Lugar said.

For more information about this project or to enroll, contact Lugar at (812) 237-3428; or Lu at (812) 232-3393, ext. 12.

- 30 -

Contact: Robyn Lugar, interim chair and assistant professor of social work, Indiana State University, rlugar@indstate.edu, (812) 237-3428.

Writer: Katie Spanuello, media relations assistant director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3790 or kspanuello@isugw.indstate.edu

Bookmark and Share

Story Highlights

A joint effort of the ISU Social Work Department and the American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter, Social Work 400, taught by Robyn Lugar, teaches students how to conduct disaster damage assessment, save lives with CPR, and connect military families through the Red Cross.

Bookmark and Share