October 10, 2017
Students can look to bring positive change to their local community, but the UCCS Global Brigades are taking positive change one step further to those who need it globally.
The UCCS Global Brigades will prepare for a trip next year to service communities lacking medical care in Nicaragua at the end of the school year. The group plans to visit Nicaragua from May 14-20, 2018.
Biology instructor Sabine Allenspach, advisor of the Global Brigades, believes that the group experience is beneficial to everyone involved.
“Traveling with the students, you can see [progressively] how students change. It’s one of the best things that I’ve ever experienced, seeing how the students interact with the patients,” she says.
“It it intense, physically and mentally, but I think that you can ask any of the students and you’ll see that they take a piece of this with them for the rest of their lives. And that is why we are doing this and why this student organization is growing.”
Global Brigades is a national organization that works to improve the living conditions of people who live in third world countries. Students interested in participating in the upcoming trip must pay a deposit of $250 by Dec. 15, according to Andrea Davaro, co-president of the UCCS Global Brigades.
This semester, there are 200 students who are a part of the Brigades at UCCS. According to Robert Mullins, senior exercise science major and co-president of the UCCS Global Brigades, there is no cap on the number of students permitted to go on the trip next year.
“Many hands are great just because there are so many people that need us there,” says Mullins.
According to Allenspach, faculty members are also welcome to assist on the trip and will be needed if enough students take part.
“There has to be a faculty member with each group. And, as you can imagine, I can’t, in one small community, take 150 to 200 students. So I’d have to split them up, and UCCS requires a faculty member with each group,” she says.
In May, the Brigades sent 51 students and two faculty members to provide medical assistance in Nicaragua.
Students and faculty aimed to provide medical care in Nicaraguan medical clinics during the trip, according to Allenspach, who was one of the faculty members who went on the trip. The group worked closely with local Nicaraguan doctors.
“We had a total of six MD’s from Nicaragua, and three were assigned to each group of students. We also had four dentists and an OBGYN,” she says.
The group went to Nicaragua because the communities did not have access to basic medical care, according to Mullins.
“We provided essential medications and, in some cases, medical care that they may not have received before,” says Mullins.
Davaro says the group also helped to bring clean water into one of the communities.
“This last year, we helped them dig a trench so that they could lay a pipeline to help the community have easier access to clean water,” says Davaro, a graduate student studying exercise science.
“Before, the people in the community had to walk several hours a day, a few days a week, to get water.”
Allenspach explained that the trips are not exclusively offered to medical students. Nationally, Global Brigades offers programs for those studying business, engineering, human rights, international law and economics.
Students who are interested are required to join the Global Brigades and pay a $25 annual fee, which goes toward the trip’s emergency fund.
Meetings are take place every other Monday at 7:30 p.m. in Columbine room 138.