Service Day Connects New Medical to Students to Community

Posted in GUMC Stories

August 14, 2014 – Every fall, incoming Georgetown University medical students have the chance to give back to the community before classes even begin. This year, 85 students volunteered for the annual Service Day where they provided community service to five D.C.-area organizations.

Second-year medical student Zayn Holt (M’17), a project site leader who was a Service Day volunteer last year, says the opportunity is a great way to be introduced to Georgetown’s culture.

“I found this to be a great way to introduce new students to cura personalis, or ‘care of the whole person,’ and to a profession of service and teamwork,” says Holt. “Even before the first lecture, our first act as medical students who had donned the white coat and sworn the Hippocratic oath was an act of service.”

This year, Holt led the largest volunteer group, which worked on trails in Rock Creek Park (new window) along with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (new window). They helped remove invasive plant species and revitalized new plantings by weeding and mulching.

Lisa Schmitt (M’17), a Service Day committee member, led a group of students in preparing meals for Martha’s Table (new window), a local food kitchen.

“This was a great way to meet the first-year students,” Schmitt says. “In the process of making 500 sandwiches for Martha’s Table, I was able to answer questions the students had about first year, and learn more about their individual journeys to medical school.” 

Luke Powell (M’18) worked at a retirement home when he was in high school. His previous work experience motivated him to volunteer with about 15 other first-year students at the Lisner Louise Dickson Hurt Home (new window) where they visited and played board games with the elderly residents.

“The elderly population is a unique and large part of the patient population of the U.S. and students may not be used to the day-to-day challenges that are unique to this population,” Powell says. “This was an excellent opportunity to learn and communicate with great people and gain a new perspective.”

Another volunteer group helped bag food at the Arlington Food Assistance Center (new window). They also gave the facility a deep cleaning so the center and its volunteers can better serve their clients. Still another volunteer group cleaned and reorganized the School of Medicine’s student-driven HOYA Clinic (new window). This project enabled students who are interested in volunteering at the clinic this academic year to get a preview of its inner workings.  

By Sarah Reik
GUMC Communications