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From left, College of Medicine student leaders Kate Morrison, Adam Neufeld, Daniel Lee and Odell Tan have been invited to meet with donors and other student leaders on March 6 to discuss how they advocate for and give back to their communities. Photo by Kristen McEwen

Medical students reflect on advocacy and giving back

One Day for Students is the University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) annual day of giving, where the campus community, alumni, donors and friends are invited to make a special donation that can help students overcome hurdles to their educational goals.

The university is asking its community to donate to the Nasser Family Emergency Student Trust, which helps students with unexpected crises, such as personal medical emergencies, alternative living arrangements following an emergency, or sudden loss in funding.

“As a student, in general, school can get busy and having any type of support in place that can help you when you have another thing added onto your life is essential to be able to continue to get through school effectively and successfully. Especially when it’s unexpected and if people don’t have those supports elsewhere in their life,” said Kate Morrison, president of the Student Medical Society of Saskatchewan (SMSS).

Throughout this day, students are encouraged to share stories of volunteerism and their support of causes they care about.

Adam Neufeld is a third year medical student who has been recognized as a change maker within the College of Medicine and at the University of Saskatchewan.

Neufeld founded the Peers United in Leadership & Skills Enhancement (PULSE) initiative, a near-peer mentorship  that connects second-year medical students with first-year medical students in a clinical setting. This program allows for more student-led teaching and learning opportunities and to enhance student well-being during pre-clerkship in the College of Medicine.

“I think leaders lead by example, we don’t just talk about what we’re doing. We show up and represent what we stand for,” Neufeld said.

Odell Tan took part in One Day for Students as the VP External Sr. member of SMSS in 2018. He was invited to a luncheon with other student leaders from across campus to meet and speak with Professor Emeritus Dr. Kay Nasser (PhD’65, Dsc’16) and Dora Nasser about student-led initiatives and programs. Tan is one of two students who represent USask at the Canadian Federation of Medical Students.

“We do have busy schedules but it’s an important opportunity to recognize that the College of Medicine, and our students do prioritize advocacy for anybody – in this case, particularly the students who may need access to the funds provided by One Day for Students.”

As a recipient of a bursary from the university, Tan noted how continued advocacy for financial support for students is important.

“One of the things that’s crucial for a good physician is advocacy,” said SMSS VP External Sr. Daniel Lee.

Lee added that while medical students can be preoccupied with their own work, it’s important to show up and take part in events like One Day for Students. 

To support students and the Nasser Family Emergency Student Trust, visit give.usask.ca/oneday/.

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