By Mary-Lynn Bender, AACOM Senior Director of Congressional and Public Relations
With fall approaching and the start of another academic year, our ED to MED Campus Ambassadors have been busy spreading the word by educating their classmates on the issues important to their futures and encouraging them to advocate for change through the ED to MED campaign.
This week’s blog post highlights two students who took advantage of back-to-school club fairs to spread the word about ED to MED. Learn about their outreach and get inspired about ways you can engage students on your own campus!
Mustafa Basree, MS, OMS-II
University of Pikeville – Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (UP-KYCOM)
Inspired by the current political climate and its impact on policies important to osteopathic medical students, the UP-KYCOM Student Government Association (SGA) hosted a table promoting political literacy and discussing policy issues relevant to students, such as the Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization. We reasoned that it was hard to stay away from this topic, especially when there are looming policy changes that directly impact our education and the care we will provide for our future patients. With the help of AACOM’s Office of Government Relations (GR), we were able to not only speak to our fellow classmates about this issue, but also distribute ED to MED infographics and campaign promotional materials (some of which we see worn on campus, like the ED to MED pins!)
Shelly Gupta, SGA 1st Vice-President and organizer of the club fair, was impressed with the turn out. “It was wonderful to see first-year students eager to get involved and hear more about how they can help advocate from the get go,” she said. In fact, about a fifth of the class expressed interest in the topic and wanted to learn more. Subsequently, I gave a talk to students on HEA reauthorization and the PROSPER Act that was very positively received. What was encouraging over the course of the talk was that students felt disappointed—after learning about the politics—yet inspired—after learning about ED to MED. I was personally impressed with how engaged students were, asking tough questions ranging from the timeline of the legislation should it be adopted, to the role of Congress in negotiating student debt legislation. All in all, students left the room empowered, knowing they have a strong voice and equipped with tools necessary to elevate and express that voice.
Annie Phung, OMS-II
Georgia Campus Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM)
Amanda Nguyen, OMS-II, and I hosted an ED to MED booth on August 28 for the first time at GA-PCOM’s club fair. A few weeks prior, we reached out to AACOM GR for some materials and received several campaign materials, including fliers and buttons. We also utilized our ED to MED toolkit and printed out informational fliers about relevant higher education issues and HEA reauthorization. To top it off, we made our own flier, specifically catered to our school and how students have been involved in the past and what students can look forward to in the future.
Over the course of the fair, we spoke with 30-40 first- and second-year osteopathic medical students. The clear majority of the students we interacted with had little experience or knowledge about advocacy but were very curious and kept asking questions. A few students even signed up to join the campaign, while others picked up all the various campaign fliers on the table so they could read them at home. Though this was the first time our campus has had an ED to MED booth, we thought it was a success. We reached more students than we expected and are excited to keep this momentum going. We believe that every student should be aware and have the knowledge to engage in advocacy!
ED to MED would like to thank Mustafa and Annie for helping educate their classmates about federal policies that impact their education and future careers, and all our Campus Ambassadors working to make a difference.
Is there a club fair coming up on your campus? Consider hosting an ED to MED booth to help spread the word! For ED to MED materials, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Are you interested in taking your advocacy to the next level? Consider becoming an ED to MED Campus Ambassador!