October 22, 2015 12:04 pm


Written by Rosali Vela

The UC Davis MEDLIFE chapter has been doing an incredible job this year, they won the MEDLIFE Fundraiser award for 2015, as well as managing to grow their chapter this year. Today we talked with chapter leader Tara Piryaei to find out how they did it.


When and how did your chapter begin?

Our chapter was started in 2012 by a group of motivated students looking for sustainable change.

What strategies do you use to promote MEDLIFE on campus? 

Much of our strategy involves chalking and flyering in crowded areas with the most freshman. We make sure to sign up for all involvement fairs and club promotion days, and have our executive board and general members make announcements to their classes. Facebook promotion is also very successful and includes posting on multiple UC Davis group pages.


What system do you use to recruit new members? What process does a new member go through once part of the chapter?

Our new members must accumulate a certain amount of MEDpoints in order to be active members. Members can accumulate MEDpoints through participating in community service, outreach, fundraising, coming to every meeting, and even through attending our socials!


What activities do you organize to keep your members interested throughout the year? 

We have a large event every quarter that involves a lot of planning, and our members play a big role in planning these events with us. We also bring in various speakers as well as hold multiple workshops, such as a Spanish workshop and a vitals workshop. We start off every meeting with a game to ensure our members are getting to know each other. Occasional free food helps too!


What are your goals as a chapter for this academic year (2015-2016)?

For the 2015-2016 academic year, we plan on holding a large successful fundraiser each quarter, from Entertainment Showcase, to MEDTalks, to Springsplosion. We hope to gather enough donations from these events to fund a second project. We also strive to send at least 50 people out to mobile clinics over the course of the year. Lastly, we hope to create a lasting bonding with our members that will encourage them to return to our meetings.


The last season of MEDLIFE Mobile Clinics in Ecuador was amazing. Many students raised funds for their trip through a 50:50 campaign, here is one of their stories. For more information about the 50:50 campaign click here: 50:50 Campaign

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Name: Patrick Loudermilk

School: Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College MEDLIFE chapter
Trip: Tena, Ecuador, from Aug. 15- 23rd 2015.

What Medlife chapter are you a part of? I am part of Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College MEDLIFE chapter.

How did you hear about the MEDLIFE 50:50 Campaign? I heard about it from an email actually, from our chapter. That told us about it; that told us about all the cool things that it does.

Why did you decide to organize a 50:50 campaign? I wanted to find a way to raise money for the trip but it also seemed to be a good idea to get money for the organization.

How long did it take you to run your campaign? It was about three and a half months.

How much money did you raise? I raised $1870.

400 2015 08 25 1

What did you do to be successful with your campaigning? I asked a family, friends, local church leaders - my grandfather's bible study helped a lot.

Did you encounter any obstacles in the process, if so how did you overcome them? No real obstacles, it slowed down about halfway through and I had to ask some more people, but it all worked out.

Was using a 50:50 campaign a positive experience? It was a positive experience to see who was donating. They could leave little messages for me and it was really cool for me to see that and have a cool impact on people who care what I was doing and what I could do.

What did you think of your volunteer trip? It was an amazing experience, everyone that wants to go or is thinking about going should definitely go on one because you got to work in the clinics and you got to see a bunch of patients, if you're a Pre-med kind of person. Or if you just want to help- people could always use help and this is a great place to come and serve.

How do you feel about the impact you have made raising money to support people like the ones you're working with during your trip? Oh it felt great to see the end of the community project!


Are you a dedicated MEDLIFE chapter member who is looking for a way to become more involved in MEDLIFE? Applications for the MEDLIFE Student Advisory Board for the 2015-2016 school year have now opened!

Joining the MEDLIFE Student Advisory Board (SAB) is a great way to get more involved with the organization, take on more responsibility, and work towards future career goals.

 “Members of the Student Advisory Board are some of MEDLIFE's most dedicated volunteers,” said MEDLIFE's Expansion Associate Kendra Downer. “They are on the ground at universities interacting every day with the people that make MEDLIFE possible: our chapter members.”

MEDLIFE is currently looking for applicants with expertise in the following areas:

  • Mobile Clinic Planning
  • Fundraising and Event Planning
  • Chapter Management (member retention and management)

“MEDLIFE hopes to expand to over 300 chapters, and with the SAB advising new and existing chapters on important chapter issues,” said Kendra, “we hope to see all MEDLIFE chapters reach their full potential.” 


This is what Student Advisory Board Member Leema John, who was part of the SAB for the 2014-15 school year, had to say about her experience:

“The SAB work that I took part in was a mix of many things,” Leema said. “During the first semester, the focus was on chapter management, which was conquered as a team. Each team member focused on a particular area of MEDLIFE and chapter development, I helped chapters in New England and Canada with fundraising efforts.”

Later in her work with SAB, they switched their focus to expansion. “I would reach out to high schools and universities both near and far that did not have MEDLIFE chapters,” she said.

Leema's advice to prospective applicants was this:

“I would stress the importance of clear and effective communication (as the majority of it is not in person) and flexibility, as the SAB program is continually evolving to reflect the needs of MEDLIFE's growth as an organization.”

Leema stresses that she got a lot out of the hard work she put into her time on Student Advisory board; it taught her skills that she sees as crucial to her professional development and to employment after college. “As a busy college student, the SAB team taught me to manage my time well, communicate effectively through impersonal platforms (phone, skype, email, etc), and develop a sense of accountability to both my SAB team members and chapters. As a member of the SAB team, I had the opportunity to work with students that were very diverse, but linked by dedication to the MEDLIFE mission.”

Working on the SAB also led Leema to further opportunities for professional development. Leema initially joined the SAB as a launching pad to get to the MEDLIFE summer internship that she had her eye on since she first got involved with MEDLIFE as a freshman. “I figured that the SAB was the middle ground between the position that I had held in the past, and what I aspired to obtain in the future,” Leema said. “It seemed like a great way to get further involved in an organization that I truly felt passionate about.”

In the summer of 2015, Leema traveled to Lima, Peru as a summer intern in the MEDLIFE Department of Student Affairs. Two of the other 2015 summer interns were also on the SAB board before they got the internship.

Get in your applications here as soon as possible! They will only remain open until suitable candidates have been found.

The last season of MEDLIFE Mobile Clinics in Ecuador was amazing. Many students raised funds for their trip through a 50:50 campaign, here are three of their stories. For more information about the 50:50 campaign click here: 50:50 Campaign


My name is Catia Lecchino and I'm from Marianapolis College. I went on a trip to Tena, Ecuador.

How did you hear about the 5050 campaign? I heard about the 50:50 campaign when I got involved with MEDLIFE on campus. I received an email explaining the 50:50 campaign and fundraising opportunity. 

Why did you decide to organize a campaignI thought it was a really great idea since the money I raised could help a lot of people here in Ecuador and it also would educate other people in my community about MEDLIFE and what we do. It´s a good opportunity to get a lot of people involved and engaged at the same time.

How long was your campaign? I started my campaign about 3 months before I left. It was a lot of family and friends who donated and helped move my campaign forward.

How much money did you raise total? I raised $575 total with the MEDLIFE 50:50 campaign.

What did you do to reach that goal? I spoke to people, sent out emails and whatnot. Basically, I reached out to friends and family to tell them about what MEDLIFE is, what we do and how they´re helping people around the world. That encouraged people to donate to my campaign.

Did you experience and obstacles during your campaign? If so, how did you over come them? I didn't encounter any obstacles really. I think what I would have loved to do if I had more time would be to post it on Facebook or a bigger social media network to reach more people and let them see what MEDLIFE was about.

How was organizing a 50:50 campaign a positive experience? What did you learn from it? I've learned how to interact better with people, explain to them things that I was also new to. I also learned how to pace myself.

What did you think of your volunteer trip? I loved my volunteer trip. I thought it was a great experience. We got to help people and experience a new culture at the same time. It was really beautiful.

How do you feel about the impact you have made raising money to support people like the ones you are working with on this trip? I feel good about what I've done. I would love to keep doing this in the future.

What advice do you have for students who are organizing a 50:50 campaign? I would tell students organizing a 50:50 campaign to not be scared about getting your message out there. Talk to people about MEDLIFE and what you`re doing because it has a serious impact for people around the world. It's amazing to see that impact when you go on a mobile clinic after months of fundraising.


My name is Princess Olowu and I arrived on May 16th in Esmeraldas, Ecuador and I´ll be finishing on 31st going to Riobamba.

How did you hear about the 50:50 campaign? I heard about the opportunity through my friend who went on a MEDLIFE trip to Ecuador a few years ago and fundraised for the trip with a 50:50 campaign.

How long was your campaign? I was initially supposed to go to Cusco and Lima, Peru last year. I campaigned for 2 months but towards the end I realized I could no longer go there so I moved over my campaign to Ecuador for another two months.

How much money did you raise? $1,100

How did you fundraise for your campaign? Basically, I spoke to people as naturally as I possibly could, friends, family coworkers, pretty much everyone and just told them about MEDLIFE and what we do.

Did you experience and obstacles during your campaign? If so, how did you over come them? I guess a couple of people were not really sure about MEDLIFE because they hadn't heard about it, and then a lot of people were just a little bit unwilling to give because they didn't have the money or resources. So, I just encouraged people to share the link.

Was it a positive experience? What did you learn? It was great! I learned that a lot of people really like transparency when it comes to where they give their money. I also learned that a lot of people want to help out others around the world but didn't know how to, the 50:50 campaign gave them an opportunity to.

What do you think of your volunteer trip? I have loved every moment of my volunteer trip! From working with doctors, to meeting the patients to just meeting the locals when we go on tours. I really enjoyed the reality check tour that we went on; it was really a reality check.

How do you feel about the impact you have made by raising money to support people in need? Initially coming into this, I thought that the money I would raise was quite a bit and it would be a great impact. But apon working here, just the week I've been here, I feel like there's a lot more that I could do and I'd like to be able to help more.

What advice would you give someone who is doing a 50:50? Transparency is the most important thing for organizing a 50:50 campaign. Speak to people honestly, don´t get upset or angry if they can´t help you out, just keep going no matter how many nos you get!


My name is Matthew Ruby and I'm from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I went on a trip to Riobamba.

How did you hear about the 50:50 campaign? I heard about it though the MEDLIFE website when I first got involved with MEDLIFE. I looked into it and I thought it was a good opportunity.

Why did you decided to organize a campaign? I thought it was a good opportunity to help the local community here in Riobamba in some way and raise some money for things they needed like schools, medical supplies. And I thought it was a good opportunity for me personally to pay for some of my expenses for the trip. I figured that my friends and family would be willing to give a little bit, so I thought it was good idea.

What did you do to raise the money? I reached out to different family members and told them to tell others and took some time to write something for the campaign page that made sense, that would make people feel that this was a good thing to donate to.  I thought that people would be engaged

Did you experience and obstacles during your campaign? If so, how did you over come them?I didn't really encounter any direct obstacles with the campaign. I guess the closest thing I had was with my moms family, some of them were just not really able to give that much, it's not that they weren't willing to give. I didn't want to press anyone into it. It was really just if you feel like you want to you can. It wasn´t really an obstacle. It was more just like you know oh, the moneys going to have to come from somewhere, I'll have to find someone else to donate. You are just are thankful for what you can get.

How was it a positive experience what did you learn? I thought it was a very positive experience in that I didn't expect people to give as much. It was mostly my dad's side of the family that gave. It wasn't really that they were more willing to give, it was more that they felt like it was something they could spare money for. It was a positive experience because it just shows how generous and willing to help out people are if you just ask them. People really do care about something even though they haven't been to Ecuador, it becomes something that's important to them since its important to you. It was nice to see that kind of generosity.

What did you think of your volunteer trip? I´ve enjoyed it a lot. It´s been an extremely beneficial experience in a couple of different ways. Professionally, it's a good experience if you want to work in public health or medicine. Also it's a good cultural exchange experience to be able to see a different place, experience a different place and talk to the local people. It was a great experience for me to practice my Spanish and to just learn about how people are living in a place that's not too far a way but very different.

How do you feel about the impact that you´ve made by fundraising and volunteering on a mobile clinic?I feel very thankful that I have the opportunity to help some people. I´m very happy that some money I raised can be used to directly help people. I think sometimes with bigger NGOs or larger organizations it can be hard to know/see exactly where your money is going. I thought this was a special opportunity because the money that you give/raise- you can directly see where and who it's going to and interact with the people it's going to. I thought that it was extremely beneficial for me and those who donated, and I appreciated that it was a two-way thing.

What advice do you have for students who are organizing a 50:50 campaign? Don´t be afraid to ask, you know, especially your family. You might be surprised by how generous people can be, but also don't pressure people, you´ll figure it out. Make people feel good about what they are doing and giving to. Just be honest.

Congratulations to MEDLIFE chapter at the University of Kansas for winning Best New MEDLIFE Chapter Award 2015! MEDLIFE at KU has made incredible strides within this past semester. Through successful campaigning and hard work, they sent 23 students on a mobile clinic, raised $520 and elected 8 new executive board members. We´re proud to have their president Aly Lange interning with us in Lima this summer. Read the following interview to find out more about this amazing chapter!


When and how did your chapter begin?

The MEDLIFE chapter at the University of Kansas began when their Chapter President, Aly Lange, transferred to the University of Kansas from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the Fall of 2014. There is a very strong MEDLIFE chapter at UNL, and after seeing that there wasn't a chapter at KU, Aly started one!

What strategies did you use to promote MEDLIFE on campus?

At KU, social media outreach goes a long way! MedLife KU utilizes Facebook events and groups, e-mail, GroupMe, Twitter and Instagram extensively to keep chapter members engaged and informed. They also do lots of tabling throughout the year as well as chalking the sidewalks of campus! 


What process does a new member go through once part of the chapter?

Something that helps MedLife KU stand out against similar organizations on campus is that it has an "open arms" policy for students! It welcomes students of all majors, time constraints and disciplines to join at any point in the year. Once a student expresses interest in joining MedLife KU, we add them to our e-mail list and all social media groups that they can stay in the loop and be invited to meetings!

What activities do you organize to keep your members interested throughout the year?

This year, MedLife KU will implement a within-Chapter competition called the Family Cup. We have 7 members who will act as "Mama"s and "Papa"s to their "Family" of 5-10 students. Each MedLife KU event will be worth a certain number of points for the Family Cup, and the top 3 scoring Families will receive a prize at the end of the year! In addition, individual students that accumulate a certain number of points will be awarded special recognition and prizes. 

MedLife KU also hosts a number of annual fundraisers throughout the year. This includes Music For Medicine (a battle of the bands), Sweethears for Staircases (a Valentine's Day candy delivery service), and Serves for Service (a volleyball tournament). MedLife KU will expand upon this to add at least 3 more major fundraisers in the upcoming year. They also are hosting 2 MEDTALK conferences this year, in order to bring University-wide attention to global health issues.

They also plan to host more social events for members to meet fellow students interested in going on MEDLIFE trips over both Winter, Spring and Summer breaks!


What are your goals as a chapter for this academic year (2015-2016)?

This year, MedLife KU is determined to raise at least $1000 for MEDLIFE throughout the course of the school year and to send a total of 50 students on mobile clinic trips. They also want to reach out to at least 3 high schools and colleges to help start new MEDLIFE chapters!

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