Intercollegiate rivalries typically revolve around the football field or basketball court. But when Des Moines University and University of Iowa Physician Assistant students face off, it’s in a friendly service-oriented competition. There’s a prize at stake, but the real winner is community organizations that benefit.
Each year, the Iowa and DMU PA programs challenge each other to an Iowa Physician Assistant Society (IPAS) Student Volunteer Contest. Whichever class accumulates the most service hours wins scholarships to the national PA Society Conference. This year, DMU trounced Iowa by logging 33.82 volunteer hours per student, compared to 11.75 at U of I.
“We were told about the IPAS competition at the beginning of the year, and we set a goal of 25 volunteer hours per student,” says Michelle Kubik, who served as Community Service Co-Chair for the PA-15 class. “Our focus was on getting involved with local medical organizations and serving the community, and because of that we exceeded our goal. It was just a nice bonus that we were able to beat University of Iowa in the process.”
Kubik and co-chair Emily Walker worked closely with numerous organizations, including the American Lung Association and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, to get involved with events and fundraisers.
“Our class’s favorite event was probably the ‘Light the Night’ event for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, where the PA-15s raised more than $5,000 for the organization through individual fundraising and a class bake sale,” Kubik says. “We had 30 students volunteer at the event and we enjoyed being able to support our PA Faculty member who is a lymphoma survivor and who was our inspiration for supporting this organization.”
Other projects in this record-setting year included Salvation Army bell ringing, Adopt-A-Family for the holidays, preparing meals for the Ronald McDonald House, health screenings at the Easter Seals of Iowa disabilities fair, and volunteering with Youth Emergency Services & Shelter of Iowa (YESS).
“All of these opportunities, combined with our classmates’ selfless attitudes and passion for others in our community, led to an extremely service-oriented year for the PA class,” Kubik says.