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During COVID, Community Service and Humanitarianism Find a New Home

February 23, 2021

Friends of Médecins Sans Frontières at Trinity College, formerly known as Doctors Without Borders Student Chapter at Trinity College, is a student organization focused on engaging our campus community with the work of the larger Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) organization.

Our goals are to raise awareness about MSF’s humanitarian principles, hold fundraisers for specific campaigns and embody the standards of MSF through our own community service in Hartford. We also began partnering recently with other organizations to support our pre-med members. Each semester, we hold events centered around these goals.

In the Fall 2020 semester, we partnered with the Princeton Review for an MCAT preparatory session and an information session with the Health Professions Advising Committee (HPAC). Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we shifted our community service work to a different space, participating in virtual events to show appreciation to local healthcare workers. With humanitarianism and service to others such core values, we are planning to dedicate many of our efforts in the Spring 2021 semester toward fulfilling these values.

MSF, an international organization, provides medical aid to people who need it most, regardless of race, religion, gender and political views. This stance allows MSF to reach further than most organizations that are often restricted by their views and/or beliefs. During this pandemic, MSF has given medical and mental health support to affected populations, as well as education on the coronavirus in over 70 countries!

Providing PPE, opening care facilities and administering inpatient care training are just a few ways MSF has helped to fight COVID-19. Meanwhile, regular medical programs are still running to ensure vulnerable populations are given the proper care they need. As Friends of MSF at Trinity College, we introduce and extend those principles and goals here in the Hartford community. Together, we raise awareness for MSF campaigns through fundraising and other events.

Although COVID-19 has affected our ability to operate as usual, we are still planning as many events as possible to keep aiding MSF as it battles the pandemic and countless other health crises. Among the numerous virtual events in the upcoming semester is a collaboration with Chartwells to donate meal swipes as a fundraiser event for MSF efforts abroad and domestic. We are also planning a collaboration with Trinity College’s Nest Artists to create and sell stickers that can also aid in funding certain campaigns.

We also hope to partner with the American Red Cross for a Virtual Blood Drive, where students can form teams and go, on an individual basis, to nearby Red Cross donation sites to give blood. Because we cannot invite the Red Cross to campus this year, we plan to continue our Blood Drive tradition in a safer way as sanctioned by MSF and Trinity College.

Lastly, we are currently working to establish a mentorship program between medical students at UConn Health and members of our organization, so that Trinity students can get a firsthand look at what it means to be in medical school.

Friends of Médecins Sans Frontières at Trinity College meets twice per month on Sundays, with the Executive Board meetings weekly on Saturdays (this is subject to change as the needs of our members do). We encourage anyone who feels in tune with our values and wants to offer their support to join our organization, and please feel free to contact us at doctorswithoutborders@trincoll.edu with any questions! Thank you!