Aggie Student Organization Sending Medical Clinic To Ukraine
During the fall 2022 semester, Texas A&M University student organization BUILD converted four shipping containers into Texas Aggie Medical Clinics (TAMCs) that will be shipped to communities in need, including one to Ukraine next month.
The clinic will provide aid to a community that has faced considerable damage due to the country’s ongoing conflict with Russia. The location of this TAMC will be decided when it arrives at the Medical Bridges facility for medical supply stocking in April. Due to the fluid nature of the conflict in Ukraine, the exact location remains undecided.
The nonprofit Medical Bridges has been partnered with BUILD since 2014. The organization is based in Houston and collects and distributes surplus medical supplies and used equipment to developing countries. Medical Bridges collaborates with BUILD by stocking each container with medical supplies and helping to identify and vet which NGOs to send clinics to.
The clinic will be joining one other TAMC already in Ukraine. The current TAMC is located near a bombed hospital 30 miles from the Russian border. The clinic allows individuals who live in areas where medical facilities have been damaged to still receive medical care.
A Decade Of Selfless Service
Texas A&M BUILD, a student organization founded in 2013 by Bryson A. Sutterfield, former deputy commander of the Corps of Cadets, is a collaborative project created in reverence of the tradition of Aggie Bonfire and the 12 students whose lives were lost when it collapsed in 1999. In 2014, BUILD began a three-year project called 12 for 12 with the goal of converting 12 shipping containers.
A decade after the organization was founded, BUILD continues the tradition of selfless service. As of this month, the group has produced 41 medical clinics which are in 20 different countries across five continents. Each clinic is equipped with filtered water, A/C units, space for medical beds and ample storage for medical supplies.
The Ukraine-bound clinic is decorated with a vibrant mural on one wall that the group says is representative of the country. The mural was painted by Texas A&M former student Luis Banuelos ’18 who paints the interior of one TAMC each fall. Banuelos is attending medical school at the Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
In addition to being a student organization, BUILD is also a nonprofit. In 2021, BUILD accomplished a major milestone of reaching $1 million in contributions from donors.
“Funding for the BUILD project is provided by the annual financial support of charitable donations given by our private donors and sponsors,” said BUILD CEO Kate-Riley Rogers ’23, a biomedical sciences and entomology major from Frisco, Texas. “Each clinic costs around $25,000 dollars to produce, so anything helps as we continue to prepare for the construction of more clinics.”
The group recently established the BUILD Endowed Excellence Fund in which donations to the campaign will be processed. It also has developed a menu of funding opportunities at the $25,000 endowment threshold.
While financial support from the community is important to BUILD’s mission, the organization’s projects could not have been completed without the help of 1,621 volunteers this fall.
“To continue our mission of uniting the student body, we welcome volunteers, both new and old, to the BUILD site in the fall to get the chance to contribute to the construction of our new 2023 TAMCs,” Rogers said. “We are eager to grow and be able to produce more than the standard four or five clinics that we produce each fall. With more clinics, we would not only be able to bring more students, organizations and colleges together from across the Texas A&M campus, but we would be able to touch more lives with the clinics that we create.”
During the fall, students may visit the BUILD site from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. to volunteer.
“I recommend that students get involved either as volunteers or members because I firmly believe that as an organization, we are doing something that is so unique to anything else on the Texas A&M campus,” said Rogers. “Everything that we do is student-run, and as a college student, it is really empowering to be a part of something that has such a huge impact.”
Read more about BUILD from the Texas A&M Foundation in Maroon Magazine.