Sofia Haq is a Psycholinguistics major/Gender Studies minor and our 2013-2014 Director of Development. It is Sofia’s second year involved with GlobeMed at UCLA and she will be graduating in 2015. Read on to hear what initially drew Sofia to GlobeMed, and what makes GlobeMed unique among other groups on campus.
About a year and a half ago, I started my first year at UCLA. I knew I wanted to get involved as much as possible, so my goal was to explore everything this campus to offer. As a transfer student, I felt like all my hard work had gone down the drain. I was starting new from a community college, where I was very involved and even though I made it to such an amazing university, I felt like I had to find a way to make a name for myself all over again. I knew it was going to be difficult, but my goal was to try something new and get involved as much as I could.
I remember attending the Activities Fair my first year at UCLA. Prior to the fair, I remember discussing with my friends about joining a health club on campus. My roommate was already set on joining the Public Health Club on campus and she told me to join it with her. I was interested, but not as interested as I would have hoped. I then stumbled upon the GlobeMed at UCLA booth. I remember seeing one of our former members, Leah Paz, handing out flyers. I was immediately interested in the organization. Those who were talking about the organization seemed so passionate about it, as if they could talk about it for hours on end. It looked like a sports team that was trying to recruit people. In my mind I was like, “Health + Sports = YES”. It immediately caught my attention and I decided to look more into the organization after that.
Ever since high school, I always had some interest in global health, but I never expected to join an organization that was all about global health. I found the subject really interesting and though I knew it was not something I would pursue professionally, I wanted to learn more about it, so I decided to apply to GlobeMed. Two of my friends were applying to the Public Health Club, but I was a little rebel and decided to apply to GlobeMed instead. About a week later, I got an interview and after the interview I found out that I was accepted as a new member. To this day, when I look back on all that I’ve done at UCLA so far, I am especially grateful for my decision to follow my gut and apply to GlobeMed. Why? Because I found my family…
Now I will give a little spiel about why GlobeMed is so amazing if you don’t already know. Ready? Vamos…
We have two hour meetings every week and that’s not counting the two hour meetings E-Board has as well… yeah I know. It sounds like a lot, but guess what? It’s worth every minute. When we have our meetings, it’s like going home and seeing your best friends that you haven’t seen all week because you’ve been going to a school far away from home. You are comfortable around those people and you respect all of them. You all have your own passions and interests, but you get along well because you all have a purpose and that is helping others. In our case, we are all helping people we probably may never meet, but we are making a positive impact in all that we do.
We are working on various projects, such as W.A.S.H., which stands for Water Access, Sanitation and Hygiene Project. We provide funding with goals to: decrease the amount of time each family spends per day collecting water in the village, promote a savings culture, and develop a curriculum that will be used to educate members on proper sanitation and hygiene practices. All of these are goals we created to ultimately empower the community we are working with which is the Mpoma Community HIV/AIDS Initiative. We use funds that we raise to provide sanitary pads to young girls, so that they do not have to miss school when they are on their menstrual cycle. We also use funds to purchase solar panels for the community. Our goal as an organization is not to change their community. Instead, we are helping to implement ways that will ultimately create sustainability within their community.
Bottom line, even though I may be stressed 24/7, if I had to look at the list of things that I am involved in and cut one of them, GlobeMed would be the last thing. When I go to meetings, there is organization and most importantly, there is a sense of passion from all the students. We learn something new at every meeting and we interact with each other. There are no cliques. It is just a room filled with funny, passionate, outgoing and intelligent individuals who all want to make a difference because we know we can. We are all so diverse and we each bring new perspectives to any topic we are discussing. I can honestly say that I have met people that I hope will stay in my life for many years to come. That’s how much it means to me. At a school where there’s so many things going on, it’s nice to know you have a group of people who are there for you in some way, shape, or form and this group is certainly that. We’re family 🙂