Students at WKU are showing their support of the university’s goal of international reach through Global Brigades, a new organization focused on the advancement of Latin American and African countries.
WKU started its first Global Brigades Chapter in the early spring of 2016, and six months later the group has already participated in its Brigade. In August, 27 WKU volunteers worked in Nicaragua for nine days assisting with medical clinics, public health projects and a water brigade.
“It was such a privilege being a part of the community there and seeing how they trusted us with their health despite the fact that we barely spoke their language,” President Merry Krueger, a Versailles senior, said. “I’m really grateful for the whole experience.”
Krueger started WKU’s chapter of Global Brigades in January after hearing about a relative’s personal experience with the organization. Krueger took the initiative of leading the group to Nicaragua.
Although the group has the support and help of faculty and different offices on campus, such as Study Abroad and Global Learning, it is separate because it is non-profit.
To assist with the public health project, students helped build a septic tank, sanitation station and a shower to reduce and prevent respiratory illness from contaminated or untreated water.
Through the medical clinic, WKU students were trained to triage different patients in the pharmacy and students were also able to shadow local doctors. There was also an opportunity to lead children in health education games.
“Working alongside the community and having them train us was great and reassuring that they will take care of what they helped built,” Krueger said.
Although Krueger is a pre-med major, she says there’s a spot for anyone interested in participating. The group hopes to reach out to students interested in engineering, environmental studies and Spanish.
Any student interested is encouraged to join Global Brigades. The organization plans on participating in their next Brigade in the summer of 2017. During the school year the group will raise funds, recruit volunteers and find potential partners within the community.
Contact: Merry Krueger, firstname.lastname@example.org