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Students Without Borders Profile

Christina Chen

Christina Chen

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Sometimes it takes more than just waiting for doctors to catch up to the standards of first world countries. Sometimes it takes risks. Sometimes it takes sweat. Sometimes it takes sending a team of the best doctors in America to the most disease stricken parts of Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, and the list goes on.

Students Without Borders is an international club that is based on the organization, Doctors Without Borders, which is a team of doctors, volunteers, and citizens who go abroad to foreign, often less developed countries to assist in medical care. The medical care provided is needed during a time of war or a major disease outbreak, putting the team in danger. However, the volunteers who provide this medical care are ready for the risks and even look forward to going because they want to improve the lives of the people who do not have access to the steady healthcare seen in developed countries. This is the same outlook seen in the teenage students involved with Students Without Borders, a club cultivating the next generation of these volunteers who aim to improve the quality of life for others by becoming involved with the community. Ashley Clarke, junior and event coordinator of Students Without Borders, further described the mission of the club.

“Students Without Borders is an international organization that aims to spread awareness about medical issues,” Clarke said. “We don’t have any doctors in our club but we aim to support groups and organizations that do have a far outreach, either through fundraising or organizing walks or medical supplies in any way we can.”

The club has participated in numerous volunteer events to accomplish this goal of outreach. Clarke listed out the volunteer work the club has been involved with over the course of her 3 years in the club. In order to connect with the medical community, the group held several events to provide materials for larger organizations to take with them abroad.

“Last year we cut up jeans to be sewn up and made into shoes for kids in Uganda,” Clarke said. “We did a medical project where we packed up medical supplies and we’ve done a lot with the Houston Food Bank because it still stems off of our mission and if people have food they are healthier.”

In addition to providing donations, the group also went out to assist in city-wide events. These large walks and runs brought together hundreds of people not only to support a good cause for research and medical care but also to bring the community together and connect with each other.

“Some of the things we’ve done this year are that we walked in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk and we’ve done the Hot Chocolate Run,” Clarke said. “We’ll be walking in the Free the Captives 5k later this year.”

Sophomore Rino Fujimoto joined the club in September and as an active member of the club, she noted how this feeling of seeing connection in the community centers back into the heart of the club.

“I decided to join Students Without Borders because it looked like an interesting way to learn about my community, interact with it, and do volunteer work,” Fujimoto said. “Being in the club, I have been able to volunteer with my friends on the weekends. Students Without Borders is a club where anyone can have fun volunteering and helping out the community.”

Clarke followed up on the interaction within the club. She described how this shared outlook made Students Without Borders unique from others on campus.

“This club seems to actively have a lot of events each month where they keep track and hold their members accountable whereas other clubs are less active and don’t keep each other accountable,” Clarke said. “I like the legitimacy of the club.”

Though the club is centered on connecting with the medical community, many of the members are involved for the connections they make with people. Clarke described what ultimately sparked her passion.

“I think one of the coolest things is that during my freshman year we had a speaker come in who had spent a whole summer in Uganda and she talked about what the medical field is able to do for her and how she is able to interact with patients and treat almost 30 people each day,” Clarke said. “The longer I’m in this club the more I understand the power of medicine to change lives.”

Fujimoto described her thoughts on her future career.

“I am still not sure but the medical field could certainly be a possibility,” Fujimoto said.

Though still uncertain, the speakers and events she has experienced have influenced her thoughts for the future. The prospect of being able to make a healthier world for other children was evidently a compelling reason to continue in the work that doctors are practicing.

“In the past we have actually had people continue those connections either through internships or mentorships,” Clarke said. “I think the club can definitely have influence to make people go into the medical field.”

Both members of the club can agree that it is worth joining.

“Students Without Borders is a great way to volunteer and get to know fellow students while contributing to the community,” Fujimoto said.

“We believe that making connections with the medical community is strong and important for our club members to understand how the medical community works,’” Clarke said. “We are involved in the community since we do a lot of work with the school, student council, and other organizations. It’s different from other clubs.”

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