Volunteerism is key at LMC

RC KUBOTA , Guest Column

It’s always a great time to think about the students and staff who contribute positively to LMC being a cohesive working environment, and to consider all the stress they must’ve endured to make this a great school.

For example, Melissa Covarrubias shared that she was “terrified” about how our first event would go – but she said calmly that it was OK for us to be nervous or even terrified. Regardless of emotions, we could get it done.

Melissa expanded our understanding of leadership by asking what we could do differently the next time. We were prompted to practice soft skills — communication, analysis and teamwork. Such skills add to student life on campus by boosting success in class group work and creating better-prepared student employees.

While raising funds for local veterans support groups, Melissa also helped raise our awareness about student-veterans. She was tireless in her support of the 5K, adamant in protecting veterans’ scholarship funds and successful in working with hundreds of people and organizations to create a community event — so successful that returning students are already organizing to create the second annual 5K.

Cristina Esparza let us know that all the volunteers, at every level, contributed to events’ successes, prompted and then helped us to succeed in new efforts and delegated responsibilities without leaving anyone swinging in the wind — so people could grow into accepting greater responsibility and become leaders.

Volunteers speaking before the LMC Academic Senate in support of funding requests this spring were offered information and opportunities to discuss the data, which enabled greater understanding through practicing presenting.

Cristina built consensus among officers to grow LMC’s American Medical Students Association. For example, she encouraged people to suggest campus events that could count toward club-scholarship-winning points. Student life on campus grew through increased awareness and support of campus events/organizations, with a bonus for AMSA scholarship hopefuls.

Cristina was captain of Team Caduceus, which met its $1,000 fund-raising goal, thus becoming “A Bright Light” in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Walnut Creek Light the Night event. She also supported the addition of an LMC student to the LLS Leadership Committee for 2016 and worked selflessly to encourage club officers for next year.

Tito Ramos is another outstanding leader on campus. He helped create the Veterans Club and was instrumental in the creation of the Veterans Resource Center at LMC. We now have the first center in our District, dedicated shortly after the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary on campus.

Tito spoke frequently, in many venues, to help focus community concerns and efforts into the Cuisine Club, culminating with the Dunk Tank challenge highlighting their fund-raising efforts toward a food pantry on campus.

The Veterans Club has already significantly impacted the community at large. It was a long time coming but is so actively engaged with student life that the Outstanding Student Club Award would be fitting.

Tennille McEwen has also promoted veterans support efforts, including getting permission from the AGS statewide organization for LMC to fund-raise for local vs. national organizations. I don’t even know how much money she’s poured into supporting student efforts.

This year is an opportunity to express our appreciation to the most special. We owe so much to so many.