First-year medical students at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine kicked off a new year of service to the metro Detroit community by preparing packages of hygiene products for Pontiac residents in need.

OUWB kicks off new year of service to the metro Detroit community
An image of OUWB students packing up hygiene kits
OUWB M1 Daeun Jeong prepares a hygiene kit as part of the school's first community service project of the new year.

First-year medical students at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine kicked off a new year of service to the metro Detroit community by preparing packages of hygiene products for Pontiac residents in need.

The project was held Thursday and led by Compass, OUWB’s official address of community engagement.

Students gathered near Oakland University’s Elliott Tower — at the center of campus — to assemble packages of new socks, deodorant, soap, toothpaste, and other hygienic goods.

To encourage safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, students wore masks and worked alone at tables that were significantly more than six-feet apart. 

M1 Aubrey Haughn was among those who volunteered, despite a busy first week as a medical student.

“It was another good opportunity to meet people in the OUWB community…and I’ve heard good things about the Baldwin Center so I thought it would be cool if I could work with them a little bit,” she said.

Baldwin Center, located near downtown Pontiac, is one of OUWB’s more than 60 community partners.

The center provides food, clothing, youth services, and more to people with needs, including those who are homeless.

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Jean Szura, Ph.D., director of Service Learning, OUWB, said preparing the hygiene packages is just one way of the new ways Compass is providing community service opportunities for OUWB medical students.

Compass has had to adjust how OUWB students get involved in the community as a result of COVID-19. Those adjustments include cancellation of the school’s annual Day of Service traditionally held for first-year medical students in mid-to-late August.

Other ways Compass is working to provide community service in the near-term include volunteer opportunities at World Medical Relief — another one of OUWB’s community partners — at the end of August and September. Several other opportunities are in the works, too.

Szura said the first opportunity (assembling the hygiene packages) reflects OUWB’s desire “to be involved even when it’s challenging to do so.”

M1 Nathan Shin was another of the volunteers on Thursday.

Shin said his roommates, who are second-year OUWB students, suggested volunteering whenever possible.

“I also think it’s important to get involved in the community,” he said. “I’m from California so I thought it would be a great way to introduce myself to everyone…and I thought it was a good opportunity to do it because I heard (the school year) gets a lot busier.”

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu

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