Faculty & Research -Christophe-Alexandre Senizergues, part-time professor at Rennes School of Business, talks about his experience as a volunteer for the French Red Cross

Christophe-Alexandre Senizergues, part-time professor at Rennes School of Business, talks about his experience as a volunteer for the French Red Cross

Christophe-Alexandre Senizergues, part-time professor of finance at Rennes SB, was a French Red Cross volunteer during the first lockdown

The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has transformed many parts of society, from elements of our daily lives to economic and social transformations on a large scale. Many charitable associations struggled during the first lockdown, lacking the necessary medical equipment and infrastructure to be able to deal with the situation safely.  The food available to homeless people was therefore concentrated to a smaller number of associations in France. With their pre-existing framework for social action and the medical competency of their emergency workers, the French Red Cross were able to take effective action in order to respond to the crisis.

The French Red Cross Foundation is an independent charity that works alongside governments and public authorities to provide humanitarian, health, social, welfare and training services. In response to the increased need for support during the first national lockdown in France at the beginning of 2020, the French Red Cross launched a call for emergency “reservists”, volunteers that were put to action throughout France in order to support and serve their emergency services and social initiatives. Christophe-Alexandre Senizergues, part-time professor of finance at Rennes SB, was one of many volunteers that were mobilised during the first lockdown in March 2020. He tells us more about his experience, along with the social and economic factors and consequences of the lockdown:

“After the first national lockdown, the number of homeless people in France unfortunately increased. The fact that the food available to homeless people was concentrated to a more limited number of associations and the growth in demand meant that reserve volunteers were needed to help respond to the situation. As a result, Red Cross volunteers in Paris have been able to offer over 58,000 hours of volunteer work! 

For me, this experience has strengthened my professional motivation. As a consultant for an Anglo-Saxon firm on financial markets, I follow the recommendations of the European Central Bank very closely. At the beginning of the year, it recommended suspending the distribution of dividends in order to develop reserve accounts, thus protecting smaller banks that are more vulnerable at the start of the crisis. My volunteer experience in the field has helped to consolidate these macroeconomic elements for the benefit of the State (emergency financing), Public Health (whose budget is essentially public), companies (financial aid linked to Covid-19), liquidity (protecting the smallest banks at the start of the crisis) and for the benefit of a large number of people (particularly those who have been furloughed). 

I would like to thank all the health professionals, volunteers and donors who have enabled this exceptional mobilisation. Thank you to the students, teachers and members of the Rennes School of Business family for your efforts during the lockdown that have helped us to save as many lives as possible. Thank you also to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly for the quality of its hearing of our Chairman of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. In short, a huge thank you to everyone.”

All the programmes at Rennes School of Business have at least one required introductory course in CSR or business ethics.  During the International Bachelor Programme in Management, students complete the Reciprocity module in their second year, aimed at developing students’ social awareness, humility, and empathy whilst working for a humanitarian cause. During the module, Students team up with an NGO or non-profit organisation in order to carry out a humanitarian project for which they are also evaluated. In 2019, one team of students chose to organise a local Rugby tournament in order to raise funds that were donated to the local French Red Cross in Rennes.

Watch the following video to get an idea of the organisation, facilities and volunteers that were mobilised through the actions of the Red Cross during the first lockdown:

Photo credit: Madame Anne-Laure Wagner