The Rutgers Global Health Institute Student Council held its first full-council meeting on November 6, virtually via Zoom. Now in its second year, the council represents the student voice at the institute and works to foster global health collaboration across Rutgers’ academic disciplines. Currently, there are 57 members across 16 schools at the university, and 14 of the institute’s core faculty members serve as the council’s mentors.
The kickoff meeting, led by student council co-presidents Jack Hemphill and Jodi Lynch, focused on the council’s structure, goals, and planned initiatives, as well as highlights from its inaugural year. Each of the student council’s five committees is led by two co-chairs, who discussed the committees’ plans for the year ahead:
- The Career Pathway Awareness committee intends to develop a webpage that highlights a variety of organizations, internships, fellowships, and professional development resources related to global health.
- The Education and Community Outreach committee will continue its focus on COVID-19 by producing evidence-based informational videos and resources about COVID-19 testing.
- The Student Organization Collaboration committee plans to create a social media presence for the student council and establish partnerships with student organizations to encourage global health awareness and service among the university’s student body.
- The Impact Case Competition committee is moving forward with organizing and hosting an inaugural case competition that will convene students from many academic disciplines to collaboratively develop potential solutions to real-life global health challenges.
- The Rutgers Alumni Engagement committee is planning to sponsor a student-alumni networking event and a panel discussion in 2021 and collaborate with the Career Pathway Awareness committee to support communications about alumni.
Highlights of the organization’s work over the past year include efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is continuing to partner throughout Rutgers and the community to support related initiatives. They are currently recruiting volunteers to help assemble COVID-19 testing kits with Rutgers Student Health, and interested individuals should contact Hemphill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A theme throughout the meeting was a sense of coming together during a time when there is otherwise so much distance and divisiveness in the world.
“I firmly believe that we could not have come together at a more needed time,” Hemphill said during his welcome remarks, adding that this “will be a year that lives in infamy, with many obstacles that attempted to break people apart, whether it’s a virus or opposing ideals. But what brings me solace is that we are here together, today, during a welcome meeting, which signifies the opposite of the harshness and division that was a part of 2020.”