While Binghamton University students went about their days attending classes, eating in the dining halls and sleeping, members of Binghamton Crew rowed on ergs, or rowing machines, for 24 hours to raise money for the Global Medical Brigades’ (GMB) second trip to Honduras in January.
Seventy-five members of Crew shared five ergs and rowed for one-hour shifts outside the Union starting at noon on Thursday and ending at noon on Friday. They raised $200 in donations out of their original $300 goal.
The GMB needs approximately $2,400 for a “brigade box” containing various medication and supplies for the 10-day trip, according to the president Giavana Buffa, a senior majoring in biology. These supplies include things such as bandages, sterile instruments, prescription medication and dental hygiene tools.
Of the five ergs used, only one was used for 24 hours straight, but that one alone accumulated 309,892 meters, or 192 miles.
The idea for the Erg-a-thon came from Joshua Cohen, treasurer for Crew, vice president of the GMB and a senior majoring in bioengineering. Members of both clubs said they were excited about the collaboration.
Cayla Kiernan, a junior majoring in bioengineering and the vice president of Crew said that the fundraiser was a good way to form connections with other organizations on campus as well as inform students about Crew.
“We thought it would be a good idea to collaborate with other people on campus and help them out and we want more publicity for our club,” Kiernan said.
Even after most of the campus was empty and the temperature decreased, Crew members continued to row on ergs to raise money for the GMB. Some members, such as Tom Wendt, a freshman majoring in industrial engineering, said that the cold and late hour did not bother them.
“This is a fundraiser? I just work out at twelve o’clock at night,” Wendt said. “I erg for an hour, that’s just what I do.”
Other Crew members, like James Shih, a sophomore majoring in economics, said they thought about their team and helping out the GMB in order to stay motivated while rowing on the erg.
“It’s great to be able to do something together,” Shih said. “It feels like we’re actually accomplishing something.”
Buffa said that she hopes the GMB will be able to treat more people during its trip this January. On their first trip to Honduras, GMB members, along with other volunteers and health professionals, treated over 500 people.
Although they treat a large volume of people, often in poor conditions, members of the club said they were excited to return to Honduras because of the memories they had while working with patients.
“They’re so grateful for everything we do,” said Jason Ciano, the vice president of the dental brigade and a senior majoring in chemistry. “It was a very impressionable experience.”
In addition to medical and dental care, the GMB has a public health brigade that works to build infrastructure in order to prevent illness. According to Adrianna Maliga, the vice president of the public health brigade and a senior double-majoring in biochemistry and Spanish, some of the public health projects they have planned are building latrines, installing concrete floors in the homes of the village and installing water purification and storage systems.
According Kelly Keill, the vice president of financing and a junior majoring in integrative neuroscience, the GMB will continue to have fundraisers throughout the semester to raise the money needed for the brigade in Honduras in January.