Serving on the Emory Global Health Organization Executive Board

Lily Tyndall, 2nd year Environmental Health student 

Being a part of the Emory Global Health Organization Executive Board was one of the best experiences I have had at Rollins. The Emory Global Health Organization, EGHO (pronounced ē’gō) for short, is focused on getting the student body (not just the Global Health department) involved in global health issues outside of the classroom through service and advocacy.

There are no official membership policies for the student organizations, at least that I know of; students may show up for events as they are able/desire. For most organizations, this means several ‘General Body Meetings’ and ‘Lunch and Learns’ per semester. These meetings are hour-long lunch events where the Executive Board (known informally as the ‘Exec Board’) invites a speaker to speak to their members about a topic pertinent to the focus of the student organization. Free lunch is typically served as incentive for attendance. 😉 EGHO has hosted the Global Health department’s Humphrey scholars in the past, and is contacted routinely by speakers who want to present to our student body.

In terms of service events, EGHO has taken monthly trips to the Clarkston community where we have set up a ‘Learn and Play’ with some of the children there. We also have a few events each semester where we eat pizza and make re-usable cloth sanitary pads for girls in various African countries (we partner with an NGO started by the friend of a Rollins alum who distributes them). Keep in mind that most events are up to the current Exec Board. I got to be involved in all the fun that went down last year, but the 2014 board seems to have some really cool new ideas for this year, too. If you decide to join the EGHO board (or any student organization board) of 2015, 2016, or beyond, the sky (and your budget) is the limit! As a hint, it is just as difficult to say no to planning fun events as it is to plan them! We do have to stick within a certain budget and you are also a full-time student, so time and money are limiting factors.

While it’s much fun to take part in these events, I personally found that to be a bit passive. Wanting to get more involved in/give back to the RSPH community, I applied for the position of Vice President of the EGHO Executive Board. That was such a good decision for me. I enjoyed interacting with people in the Atlanta community outside of Rollins and collaborating with other student organization Exec Boards at Rollins, too. I loved that we were able to take ownership of the events. The satisfaction of a well-done, much appreciated event cannot be beat! We had such highlights as the annual picnic at Dr. Rochat’s lake house, the Cultural Expo (ABPHS and RASAH were collaborators there), and an outdoor yoga session during Public Health Week.

There are of course some negatives that come with the territory: some last minute prep for one of our biggest events got done the week before (or was it week of?) instead of 3 weeks before (stressful), some scholarship money was not awarded until 7 months after the scholarships were won (a bit embarrassing), and a missing food order led to lunchtime event with (horrors!) no lunch! However, everyone on the board was so flexible and handled each up and down with such grace (even hilarity at times), that even the downs didn’t turn out so bad after all. We even rocked a rainy day lake picnic with aplomb. (Some called it our best yet!)

If Global Health isn’t your cup of tea (or maybe you somehow favor another focus more strongly than your deep, deep passion for global health ;P) there really is an organization for everyone. REHAC (the Rollins Environmental Health Action Committee) advocate for improving the environment and promoting a safe, sustainable community. HOLA (Health Organization for Latin America) are dedicated to creating awareness of health disparities in the Latino community and connecting interested students to research and service opportunities with Latinos. ERHA (the Emory Reproductive Health Association) promotes local and global reproductive health and reproductive rights awareness and works closely with the Global Elimination of Maternal Mortality from Abortion (GEMMA) fund to support student research related to the prevention of maternal deaths from abortion. And don’t forget ABPHS (Association of Black Public Health Students), HERC (Health Educators and Researchers Collaborative), ERA (Emory Refugee Association), RASAH (Rollins Association for South Asian Health), EHMI (Emory Mental Health Initiative) and SORT (Student Outbreak and Response Team). I do apologize to any group I’ve forgotten to give a shout-out to, you are ALL amazing and do wonderfully at providing opportunities for all of us to get involved and learn more about public health. Check out the RSGA Student Orgs website for a bit more information (http://www.sph.emory.edu/current_students/sga/orgs/index.html).

All of these groups are student-run by volunteers who care deeply about providing interesting and educational events for our student body. No matter what your passion and focus is, there is probably a student organization out there that you can plug into. Get excited to get involved! 🙂

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