(November 3, 2017) — More than 80 medical students participated in the School of Medicine’s Day of Service on October 21, organized by the Learning Societies Advisory Committee. The students started the day by making sandwiches for Martha’s Table, then departed for different sites in the Washington, DC, area including Open Spirit Equestrian, Rock Creek Conservancy, Food and Friends, So Others Might Eat, HOYA Clinic and Arcadia Farm.
“I loved the entire Day of Service experience because it was a wonderful opportunity to not only give back to the community, but it was also refreshing to have fun with my classmates outside of the classroom and library,” said Margaret Krackeler (M’20). “I would definitely encourage students of all years to participate in Day of Service next year!”
Enjoying the Outdoors While Making a Difference
Joining 17 members of the Rose Society, Krackeler helped remove tomato and tomatillo plants and prepare the planting bed for a new batch of crops at Arcadia Farm, a sustainable food nonprofit that strives to increase access to healthy, high-quality food for people in underserved communities. “The location was very serene and beautiful,” she said. “It was an open area with lots of greenery and crops, and I could tell everyone loved being outside in nature.”
Clare Mallahan (M’20) also spent the Day of Service volunteering outside by picking up trash at Archbold Park with 21 members of the Knowlan Society. “We split up and walked all throughout the park, especially in the areas off the trail,” she said. Together, the students picked up eight full bags of trash and 11 bags of items to recycle.
While Mallahan was surprised to find a lot of trash in some areas of the park, she thought that the Day of Service was a rewarding experience. “All of the students I chatted with really enjoyed themselves because we were doing very tangible work and could see the difference we were making,” she said. “Our volunteers really liked being able to enjoy the beautiful day, make a difference so close to school, and bond with fellow classmates.”
Connecting with Classmates and Others
At So Others Might Eat, Kevin Nishida (M’19) helped run a meal service program with five other classmates. “It was great to meet and get to know other M1 and M2 students who I wouldn’t have otherwise met,” Nishida said. “I’m very fortunate to have great student mentors above me who have helped me thus far, and I really enjoy being in a position now to pay it forward to the next generation of students.”
In addition to the School of Medicine students, Nishida appreciated having the opportunity to meet volunteers from other organizations, including a military group from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and a local church group.
“It was awesome to see how people from all across the city could come together and give back to our community,” he said. “Medical school can be a little isolating at times, so it’s always fun to connect with those outside of medicine.”
Cleaning Up at the HOYA Clinic
At the HOYA Clinic, nine School of Medicine students diligently disinfected surfaces in the patient rooms, waiting room, play room and doctor station, ensured that all of the equipment was in the right place and in working order, and organized cluttered supply closets.
“Volunteering at the HOYA Clinic gave students a unique experience to improve a community site that they will work at in the future,” said Jack Pollack (M’20). “Many of the volunteers will see the fruits of their labor when they volunteer at the clinic next and see the improvement that a clean and organized environment makes on the care we provide our patients.”
“I would absolutely recommend this activity to future students,” he added.