Chapter Spotlight: University of Puerto Rico-Ponce

UPRP whole chapterWhen giving examples of successful student organizations, people often think of large, state universities with thousands of students. Yet, small universities also provide excellent examples of student leadership. The University of Puerto Rico-Ponce Campus (UPRP) is a small university, with just a little over 3,000 students, located in the southern part of Puerto Rico. Students are known as “Los Leones” (The Lions) for their school’s mascot, but also for the students’ perseverance and dedication.

UPRP got involved with MEDLIFE in September of 2012 when three student members (Jaillenne Quiñones, Gemily Rosado and Jan Lopez) contacted the organization with an interest in starting a chapter at their school. After working with MEDLIFE’s Student Affairs Team and, they recruited a small group of people that helped to promote MEDLIFE throughout UPRP and organize their first general meeting — all in less than one month. Although they had several problems at the beginning, they always found a way to surpass them, maintaining unity in the group. No one was prepared for the amazing turnout their first meeting had; over 70 students attended.

On October 18, 2012, UPRP became the first MEDLIFE chapter to be established in Puerto Rico. Soon after, MEDLIFE went viral at UPRP. In less than two months, they had over 100 active members willing to help. Since day one, the UPRP chapter was hard at work, exceeding our expectations for a young chapter. Soon after their first meeting, they organized a candy bar sale that raised over $400 – a substantial amount of money, especially for a chapter’s first fundraiser. Most people who bought candy were excited to know that the money they were spending would be used to help poor communities in Latin America. This amazing achievement motivated chapter members to plan more activities, such as a raffle and the first-ever canine walk. They didn’t stop there. They even organized a community service initiative in their community to help a group of people with Down syndrome.

UPRP collage
Now, the chapter is looking to expand not only within their college, but also throughout Puerto Rico. UPRP’s amazing executive board, with a knowledge of how to keep members motivated, has helped this chapter quickly grow — achieving many goals in less than six months. After sending, for the first time, one university member on a Mobile Clinic in Ecuador, the chapter is also eager to organize a large clinic group from UPRP. The chapter was even recently recognized by the university’s Dean of Extracurricular Activities for having the best team on campus. 

It doesn’t matter how small your school is; what matters is your willingness to further help MEDLIFE’s cause. MEDLIFE is happy to have UPRP, along with all of our other hard-working chapters, as part of our team. We are grateful for the group’s efforts, and for continuing to promote MEDLIFE as a worthwhile cause. Keep up with the UPRP MEDLIFE chapter’s progress here.

PJ Gonzalez is a MEDLIFE Intern based out of Riobamba, Ecuador


Hear it From MEDLIFErs

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Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

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Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

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Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

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David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

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Sydney Sansone
Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

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Abygail Youmans
College of Charleston

Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

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Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.

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Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

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Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa

Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

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Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

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Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

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Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.