University of Calgary

Medical students organize ‘uofcarmyofgood’ to provide quick response

UToday HomeJuly 10, 2013

University of Calgary students clean sewage debris left behind when the Elbow River flooded its banks near Bragg Creek. Photo courtesy Robert SchultzUniversity of Calgary students clean sewage debris left behind when the Elbow River flooded its banks. Photo courtesy Robert SchultzAs many Calgarians step up to lend a hand to those affected by last month’s flood, the university’s medical students are no exception. After an initial email from a medicine faculty member, suggesting to students that if they could go out and volunteer, they should, second-year medical student Robert Schultz took it one step further.

“Basically I sent out an email to all medical students to say that I was organizing some volunteer initiatives,” he says. “By the next day, we had approximately 50 names of students willing to help out.”

Schultz and some of his classmates scan local callout sites for volunteers, such as yychelps, to find where assistance is most immediately needed. They have also added their names to neighbourhood mailing lists, contacted community centres, and just shown up in places hoping to help. The names of the students are being kept and utilized as a mailing list, so when volunteer opportunities arise, those on the list are the first to find out.

Thus far, nothing has been off-limits. The students helped residents clean out their basements. They travelled to Stoney Nakoda Nation and Siksika Nation to sort donated clothing. They bleached a house in Sunnyside to prevent mould from growing. They helped a woman in Bragg Creek clear sewage debris from her lawn.

In addition, the emergency evacuee shelter at Yamnuska Hall on campus had requested the help of the students in providing food, shelter, and basic medical care for 470 evacuees.

University of Calgary students clean sewage debris left behind when the Elbow River flooded its banks near Bragg Creek. Photo courtesy Robert SchultzStudents prepare to remove sewage debris. Photo courtesy Robert Schultz“We were working alongside nursing and social work students so it was a great opportunity to see and experience how we can all come together in the face of crisis to help out,” Schultz says, adding that about 20 nursing students have since been added to the mailing list.

As relief efforts will undoubtedly continue for months, the mailing list will remain active. While Schultz is continuing to organize volunteer efforts, his fellow students have taken it upon themselves to organize initiatives as well. “The response has been moving,” he says. “Initially I was worried that nobody would respond, but people really just want to help out.”

Individuals from all faculties interested in being added to the mailing list for volunteer opportunities can send an e-mail to: uofcarmyofgood@gmail.com.

 

 

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