Located in small town Athens, Georgia, the University of Georgia fosters a sense of service and social responsibility that makes it the ideal place for a budding MEDLIFE chapter. UGA’s MEDLIFE chapter began in Fall 2010, and started off with a six-person executive board. Since then, the chapter has grown into a group that has sent 48 students on Mobile Clinics in the past six months alone and raised over $5,000 in the last academic year — all while trying to spread MEDLIFE’s mission in their local community.
UGA MEDLIFE makes sure to provide as many opportunities as possible for chapter members to go on Mobile Clinics during their school breaks. Chapter member Madalene Dawson spoke about her experience on a Mobile Clinic this past summer:
“I loved the feeling of directly making an impact on the lives of individuals, and it really opened my eyes to the type of work we do and how graciously we do it. I was also surprised and thankful for the extensive follow-up care that is provided to the patients after their regular check-up. On one particular occasion on the trip, the local people cooked our entire group a delicious lunch after a hard day’s work on the stairs. The generosity and thankfulness that the people of Pamplona shared towards us, despite all their hardships, was a part of the trip I will never forget.”
Many UGA students like Madalene return from Mobile Clinics with a passion for MEDLIFE’s mission of providing medicine, education, and development. The student leaders at MEDLIFE UGA strive to create opportunities for chapter members to fulfill this mission by bringing aid not only to those in need in Peru and Ecuador, but also to those in their area. This past year, they received a grant to renovate the grounds of a local tutoring center. Chapter members participated in workdays on the weekends in order to build new playsets and tables, as well as mulch the play areas. Their efforts made for a more welcoming place for the children at the tutoring center to play and learn about the importance of an active lifestyle.
This past spring, on Saturday, March 31, UGA also hosted the first ever MEDLIFE Southeastern Student Conference. It featured different service projects around Athens in the morning, followed by a video Q&A session with Carlos Benavides, Director of MEDVIDA Peru. The conference continued with a lecture by a UGA professor in public health and a panel of different professionals from the field. Time was set aside throughout the conference for small groups of students to discuss what they learned. The day ended with a bang as UGA MEDLIFE hosted a “Battle of the Bands” that raised $1,584 for the MEDLIFE Fund in just a few hours.
In order to raise the most money it can for the MEDLIFE Fund, UGA’s chapter focuses its fundraising efforts on two types of fundraisers: small events and large-scale events. Big fundraising events include the concert mentioned above, as well as a 5k race they held at the end of the fall semester last year. Small events are ongoing, and include hosting scarf sales, bake sales, and even asking fellow students and community members for spare change.
With a very busy year at their backs, MEDLIFE student leaders at UGA are actively working on the training of the upcoming executive board. Silki Modi, UGA’s former Mobile Clinic Coordinator (2010-2012) explains what drives her to continue working to develop UGA’s chapter even after her time on the executive board has ended:
“We see the difference that we can make as students. We are able to contribute to MEDLIFE and have real responsibilities within a nonprofit we care about, and that is powerful!”
Congratulations on a great year UGA MEDLIFE!
Executive Board Members of Fall 2011:
Co-Presidents: Kelsey Campolong, Emily Peng
Events & Service Chair: Carolyn Adam
Brigades Chair: Silki Modi
Advertising Chair: Danny Guidot
Fundraising Chairs: Garrett Melick, Katie O’Shea
Membership Coordinator: Savannah King
UGA liaisons: Stephanie Elam, Poorvi Chhabra