Global Brigades expands volunteer efforts, creates new chapter

By Stephanie Sokol

The Oakland University Global Brigades chapter, formed in 2010, gives students the opportunity to volunteer and travel out of the country to help the people of Honduras and Panama.

Laura Collier, adviser and founder of Global Brigades at OU, sees the group growing from four to all nine of the Global Brigades.

Medical Brigades

The Medical Brigades chapter, led by President Nadiya Sorych and Vice President Charlotte Massol, works in both Honduras and Panama.

Their first trip was in 2011, and during each visit, students provided health treatment and medication to citizens.

Physicians, dentists and gynecologists go on the trip with the students.

“When this opportunity came for me, I enjoyed it so much. I got more and more involved with it,” Sorych said. “I fell in love with the idea of a nonprofit and doing work with it, because you really feel like you are changing the world and making a difference, and that’s an amazing feeling.”

Public Health Brigades

The Public Health Brigades aim to improve living conditions and prevent medical problems, according to President Alana Hartley.

On their last trip in December, the group traveled to work with families, looking at their homes and finding improvements to make.

They installed concrete floors to prevent respiratory problems and foot fungus, since the houses all had dirt flooring, according to Hartley.

“I have benefited a lot from (Global Brigades) both in personal growth, as well as, leadership, teaching,” Hartley said.

Architecture Brigades

The Architecture Brigades focuses on restructuring communities.

During their last trip in December, they went for seven days, building a public health building and school, according to Monica Dallo, the group’s president.

“I think anyone can do the Architecture Brigades,” Dallo said.

Their time consists of manual labor, pouring concrete and pickaxing and educating children about the process of architecture, so they can keep up the buildings and rebuild themselves if necessary, Dallo said.

Business Brigades

While other chapters of OU Global Brigades have more of a medical and health focus, the new Business Brigades provides students with the opportunity to help people of Panama with financial planning and other aspects of running a company, according to Collier.

The goal of Business Brigades is to create sustainable economic development solutions to improve the overall socioeconomic level of under — resourced communities, according the Global Brigades website

The first meeting for the new group is Feb. 26 at 5:30 p.m.

In order for the Global Brigades to take the trip, a minimum of 15 members is required.