The student-run Vetavision event opens up the world of veterinary medicine to the public. Photo by Myrna MacDonald.

Students give back with Vetavision

If balancing a heavy course load wasn't daunting enough, students at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) also dedicate a significant amount of time to volunteering and giving back to their community.

Last year's Vetavision, the college's student-organized public open house, made a significant profit. But instead of throwing an event to celebrate their success, the students donated $2,000 to the WCVM's Good Samaritan Fund. This fund provides financial support to cover medical treatment for ownerless animals or for pets whose owners can't afford veterinary care.

"That's just the type of people who decide to go into veterinary medicine. Given the option to do something for themselves, they decided instead to help animals," says Jennifer Molloy, director of development at the WCVM.

"It really just speaks to the qualities of the type of students we have here. Animals do come first."

The choice to donate some of the event's proceeds came down to a vote by the student body, says Vetavision co-chair and fourth-year student Kayla Bilsborrow.

"I was really impressed with the student decision," says Bilsborrow, who believes it's important for people of all walks of life to contribute to their communities. "Whatever they happen to specialize in, or wherever their talents happen to lie, I think everyone has a responsibility to give back."

She says the donation is exciting for the WCVM student body because they'll be able to track the money and see the direct impact of their gift. The Good Samaritan Fund donation will help several pets receive veterinary care that they wouldn't have been able to access otherwise.

"There's a lot of misconceptions of veterinarians being all in it for the money, and it's really important for us to show the community that that's [money is] not our primary interest and that's not what we care about," says Bilsborrow.

In addition to the Good Samaritan Fund donation, the success of Vetavision 2015 will give students a financial cushion to support the next open house, which will be held in the fall of 2017.

Click here to find out more about the WCVM Good Samaritan Fund or visit the U of S Giving site to make a donation online.
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