Volunteer experiences have a significant personal impact on students. Despite not receiving pay, these Texas Tech students still enjoy being of service to both foreign and domestic communities.
One of the volunteer organizations at Tech is the Medical and Dental Globes Brigades, which according to the Global Brigades website, is an international student-led movement working with medical professionals and local communities to implement sustainable health conditions in underdeveloped countries.
McKaelyn Clark, president of the Medical and Dental Globes Brigades, said they operate in countries like Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras and Greece, where the Syrian refugee camp is. They also worked in Nicaragua until the country’s civil war.
Clark, a senior microbiology major from the DFW metroplex, said volunteers from any major are allowed. Volunteers receive training for the tasks performed, such as teaching locals about basic fundamental hygiene, regular check-ups, safe sex, birth control and taking vital signs.
“Our whole goal is not to change but to teach. So, we go in, and we teach them how to uphold a sustainable lifestyle,” Clark said. “The goal is to go there [underdeveloped countries] and not have to come back.”
Clark said although it was disappointing to have her first trip planned as the president canceled due to COVID-19, she and her team rescheduled the trip for later this year and are determined to make it happen.
Another project Clark is working on is her hand-made production of reusable feminine pads she and her committee can send and distribute to underdeveloped countries, she said.
Although the project has not yet actually began due to insufficient resources, Clark said she continues to ask big companies to lend her sewing machines.
After all her experiences with Global Brigade, Clark said she now sees the world differently, making her realize the abundance of what she has.
Lauryn Flores, a sophomore animal science major from El Paso, said she volunteers at the Equine Therapy Center every summer in her hometown.
The Equine Therapy Center is a horse stable providing solace for underprivileged children who may have suffered from poor and unstable living conditions and mental disabilities, Flores said.
One of her main tasks is taking the horses out of their stables, feeding them and performing regular horse care, Flores said.
“We also provide occupational therapy, so we do help a lot of children with developing their balance and motor skills,” Flores said.
Flores said she still checks in the therapy center to help care for the horses despite the transition to virtual therapy sessions.
Given her major is animal science, Flores said she initially got into the program to get some experience working with horses. However, seeing the children smile as they bond upon teaching them how to ride a horse is what keeps her going back.
“It’s not just about the pay and the resume,” she said.
In terms of cultural volunteer services, Adib Zaman, an industrial engineering doctoral student from Lubbock, said he does his through Tech's Association of Bangladeshi Students and Scholars, which he is the president of.
Zaman said he and his fellow members take pride in Bangladeshi history, culture, food and language. They do volunteer work in Tech’s cultural and promotional events, such as the International Mother Language Day.
"It's observed each third week of February, where not only our Bangladeshi performers but performers from other countries also participate and perform different cultural activities,” Zaman said.
The Association of Bangladeshi Students and Scholars also sends donations to various charity organizations in their home country, according to their Tech Connect website.
Other Lubbock volunteer contributions include hosting Bangladeshi sports and religious events as well, Zaman said.