This blog is part of a series showcasing chapters that won awards in this years MEDLIFE Awards. Each week we will be talking to a chapter to hear about their keys to success. Find out how to start a MEDLIFE chapter at your school HERE.
University of Tampa has had a successful year as a new chapter. They quickly picked up the ball and ran with it. They recently received a reward from their University acknowledging them as the best organization on campus! In total, they have completed 2,000 volunteer hours including volunteering at Habitat for Humanity, St. Josephâ€™s Children Hospital and at a local outpatient clinic in Tampa.
We talked to Nichole Laggan, external President, and Veronica Martinez-Brockhus, internal president of the chapter, to hear about their involvement with MEDLIFE.
How did you start to work with MEDLIFE? Why did you choose MEDLIFE?
Veronica: The past president reached out to both Nichole and me last summer and asked if we would be a part of MEDLIFEâ€™s new chapter at UT. I had never heard of MEDLIFE but after much research, I found how amazing the organization is. I chose to be part of University of Tampaâ€™s founding executive board because I believe in all that MEDLIFE stands for. I feel as though people do not realize the need and value for service work throughout the world and in our local community. Through MEDLIFE, we are given the opportunity to give back through various events and types of volunteering.
What new strategies have you used as President of your Chapter to gather support and inspire students to work with MEDLIFE?
Nichole: Veronica and I have taken many opportunities to speak to the students across our campus at organization tabling events such as freshman orientation. However, gaining support is often an easy task. Most students fall in love with MEDLIFEâ€™s mission and immediately want to join our chapter. Along with our service work and awareness projects, we place focus on fun events for our members. We feel itâ€™s important to give back to the community, but also reward our amazing members for their efforts!
In your opinion, what is your chapterâ€™s greatest achievement?
Veronica: I think MEDLIFE UTâ€™s greatest achievement was participating in the Remote Area Medical Clinic (RAM) where 70 of our members were able to help provide thousands of dollars of free medical, dental, and optometry care to about 2,000 people around Florida who do not have access to health care. Our chapter compiled over 1,000 volunteer hours in just one weekend. Other great achievements were being awarded the University of Tampaâ€™s Outstanding New Organization of the Year as well as MEDLIFE Nationalâ€™s Best New Chapter.
What did you do to get people engaged?
Nichole: When choosing service events, we try to find the most hands-on volunteering opportunities for our members. These may range from building houses with Habitat for Humanity to working a local Meals on Wheels route. We want our members to have a personal experience where they can work face to face with those in need. These interactions are the most impactful and allow our members to become fully engaged in their service work.
What is your most memorable experience working with MEDLIFE?
Veronica: One of my most memorable experiences working with MEDLIFE was participating in Paint Your Heart Out, Tampa Bay, where over 100 homes of those in need were painted. Our chapter painted the home of Dorothy, the sweetest old lady. She was extremely grateful and truly reminded us how important and impactful service is, even in our local community.
What plans do you have for the future of your chapter?
Veronica: Our next plan is to work on our chapterâ€™s travel proposal so that MEDLIFE UT can travel to international mobile clinics as a group, as well as participate in internal fundraising. We are also hoping to work on our social media to help continue to spread the word about MEDLIFEâ€™s mission and our chapter.
Do you have any advice for other chapters?
Nichole: My advice is to find a cause and go for it. Listen to your members interests and find a way to satisfy them. Our members love the work that they do and it drives our organization. We have a group of incredibly motivated and dedicated individuals working to make a difference in the Tampa Bay Area, but it all starts with passion and a goal.
Find out how to start a MEDLIFE chapter at your school HERE