The University of Puerto Rico at Recinto de Rio Piedras’ MEDLIFE chapter never seizes to impress! This chapter has seen significant progress since it got its start three years ago. From organizing consistently successful events, to achieving incredible growth in membership, this MEDLIFE stands out as a group with a big impact. Read the following interview with U.P.R.R.P. to learn more about this chapter, how they recruit new members, and what they do to support MEDLIFE’s mission on campus and in the local community.
When and how did your chapter begin? What strategies did you use to promote MEDLIFE on campus?
Our MEDLIFE chapter, UPR-RP, began three years ago. Only eight people showed up to our first meeting, but regardless, we stayed motivated and continued with the chapter. At the beginning, we had one or two activities per month, and little by little more people kept joining. The following year, the chapter had 120 people and in the winter of that year we were able to bring around 60 of those members on a mobile clinic trip, which was a huge achievement for us. After that trip people just couldn’t resist our marketing! We increased the number of activities, had our first initiation as a club and ended up with 180 people in our chapter. The following academic year, in August of 2014, we made a huge push in advertising through Facebook and all over the University; we held lots of service activities almost every week, in addition to fundraisers and other chapter activities. I feel very proud to say that after our aggressive recruitment campaign, we now have more than 375 active members of our chapter.
What process does a new member go through once part of the chapter?
In order for a member to be considered “active” in our organization, they have to participate in at least three service activities and two fundraisers. Beyond that, they have to attend the chapter meetings and must always demonstrate our organization’s values.
What activities do you organize to keep your members interested throughout the year?
We have activities literally every week, which are either service or fundraising events. We always put photos from the events on Facebook, which makes other people want to participate in our activities. We organize activities based on what our members ask for; if they want to work with homeless people, then we do activities that have to do with the homeless, both children and the elderly. We also work together with several other organizations when they need volunteers. The idea is to do simple but interesting activities.
We have some fun fundraising activities such as selling treats and cards that we made for Valentine’s Day, selling pizza, selling breakfast or lunch, and bake sales with our famous brownies! We hold educational activities, such as our first MEDTalk where we brought a public health specialist, who is held in very high-esteem here in Puerto Rico, Dr. Vargas Vidot. He focuses his practice on service and helping people in need. During this event, 80 people attended, and we had students from the InterAmerican UPR–Aguadilla chapter come as well!
What are your goals as a chapter for this academic year (2014-2015)?
Our goals for this academic year, 2014-2015:
- Have over 250 chapter members – Done!
- Fundraise $500 during the first semester – Done!
- Have our first MEDTalk UPR-RP – Done!
- Take on a community project in Peru
- Do the first mobile clinic in Puerto Rico