MEDLIFE Chapter Spotlight: University of Tampa

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. Joseph’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.

IMG 4625University of Tampa Chapter members

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 MEDLIFE’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 Tampa’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 MEDLIFE’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 it’s important to give back to the community, but also reward our amazing members for their efforts!


In your opinion, what is your chapter’s greatest achievement?

Veronica: I think MEDLIFE UT’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 Tampa’s Outstanding New Organization of the Year as well as MEDLIFE National’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.

14714947 332010713822387 9011338261986410291 oAside from volunteering in MEDLIFE Mobile Clinics, University of Tampa Chapter members volunteer locally regularly with organizations like Habitat for Humanity.

What plans do you have for the future of your chapter?

Veronica: Our next plan is to work on our chapter’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 MEDLIFE’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


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.