Student organizations cater to new faces

by Karen Burbach, UNMC public affairs | August 22, 2003

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Second-year medical students Kara Meinke Baehr, left, and Katie Honz with the American Medical Women's Association T-shirt: "Be the doctor your parents always wanted you to marry."
Rainbow-colored Slinkies, homemade decorated cookies, UNMC pencils, T-shirts, scratch pads and neon drinking glasses. Those were some of the freebies UNMC student organizations used Thursday to lure first-year students to join.

Approximately 400 students attended UNMC's annual Student Activities Fair, which featured more than 40 officially recognized student organizations in the Center for Healthy Living gymnasium.

"The fair opens your eyes to the different opportunities at UNMC," said second-year medical student Nick Behrendt, who handed out rainbow-colored Slinkies to future health professionals, on behalf of the UNMC Student Senate. "You think you'll work all the time, but this shows you there's real fun to be had."

The two-hour event, which was organized by UNMC's Student Counseling office, also enabled students to unwind before the start of classes Monday. Many lingered in the gym to eat lunch and listen to music, which was provided by Complete Music.

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Patti George of UNMC's Student Counseling office hands out neon-colored drinking glasses.

"It's cool to see all the organizations you can get involved in," said first-year medical student Katie Monson of Laurel.

Interested in babies? Meet the Perinatal Club. Interested in seniors? Try Geriatric Medicine's Aging Interest Group. Interested in medical missionary work? Check out the Student Alliance for Global Health (SAGH) and Wilderness Medical Society.

Interested in a particular field of medicine? Join the Family Medicine Interest Group, the Emergency Medicine Interest Group or the Student Association for Rural Health. And don't forget the Holistic Club, the Physicians for Social Medicine and Campus Fellowship for Christ.

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First-year students learn more about UNMC's Perinatal Club, which pairs a medical student with an expecting mother. Students offer support and encouragement.

Renee Else of Hebron, a first-year student in UNMC's physical therapy program, said the fair introduced her to the various student groups on campus. "It's been helpful," she said.

Program leaders agreed. "You plant so many seeds at this event," said Sara Pirtle, coordinator of the UNMC's International Students and Programs, who coordinates student medical trips to such places as Belize, Guatamala and Nicaragua.

"It's been kind of a zoo," said second-year medical student Mac McLaughlin of Sutton, who helped newcomers learn more about the American Medical Association.