August 23, 2013
|First-year nursing students Susu Xi and Shannon Orpin work at the Rosedale Community Garden|
Decked in blue "We Are KU" T-shirts and armed with shovels, rakes and paint brushes, first-year School of Medicine, School of Nursing and School of Health Professions students from the University of Kansas fanned out across Kansas City, Kan., Wichita and Salina as part of a student volunteer day.
Every year incoming students spend half a day during their orientation week performing community service projects at sites around the three cities. The first-year medical students in Kansas City, Wichita and Salina participated in M-1 Community Service Day on July 25. A group of second-year medical students participated in M-2 Community Service Day on Aug. 17. The School of Nursing and School of Health Professions students volunteered on the morning of Aug. 22. A total of 340 KU Medical Center students took part in the service days.
The service projects expose the students to the communities in which they will begin their education. The first-year medical, nursing and health professions students volunteered at 14 different locations around Kansas City, including Quindaro Gardens, Our Lady's Montessori School, and the Kansas School for the Blind. In Wichita, first-year medical students packed supplies at the Salvation Army. And the new medical students in Salina participated in team building activities on a challenge course. Some second and third-year medical and nursing students also participated in this year's activities.
First-year nursing student Ashley Heinen, from Garden City, Kan., spent her morning on Aug. 22 working at the Boys and Girls Club in Kansas City, Kan.
"I used to volunteer in Lawrence at the Boys and Girls Club, and I found it to be such a rewarding experience, I jumped at the chance to volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club here," says Heinen.
"It's just nice to get out and help the community," said third-year nursing student Ross Scanlan, who hails from North Carolina "It reflects well on our programs at KU Medical Center and giving back to the community is in line with our values at KU."
Sandra McCurdy, associate dean for admissions at the KU School of Medicine, says orientation week for all students can be hectic and stressful. But she says the schools' community service days help students get off on the right foot.
"I think our students really enjoy getting away from campus for a few hours and getting to know the community around them," McCurdy says. "Helping others and making a difference is a great way for them to start their health care education."