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Why Give | Impact stories

Students at UBC Okanagan are working together to save lives on campus

Giving Day support allows the UBC Okanagan Emergency Response Team to deliver even more comprehensive care.

For undergraduate students Rowan Ross and Shane Choong, being part of UBC Okanagan’s Emergency First Response Team has been life changing. The duo shares a passion for helping their campus community, and since joining the team both of them—along with several other team members—have been inspired to pursue careers as paramedics.

The Emergency First Response Team is entirely student-run, with nearly 30 undergraduate students providing 24/7 medical and first aid care on UBC Okanagan’s campus. With a typical response time of just minutes, team members play a crucial role in lightening the load on BC’s emergency services. Last year, the team made national news when a 77-year-old student had a heart attack and team members including third-year student Kim Davarani administered CPR, saving the man’s life.

As a non-profit, the team relies on support from donors—and last year’s Giving Day did not disappoint. On April 5, 2023, donors, alumni and friends came together to raise over $12,000 to support the team.

“Giving Day was an amazing opportunity to see first-hand that people value what we do here,” says Shane, a fourth-year management student who joined the Emergency First Response Team in the second year of his undergraduate degree. “When people give to us, they’re saying they care about the safety of our campus and our students which means a lot.”

Money raised on Giving Day goes towards equipment—such as an automated external defibrillator which is vital in cardiac emergencies, and oxygen administration devices for patients with breathing difficulties—and training. All team members are trained in Standard First Aid or as Red Cross First Responders, and the goal is to have more members reach the level of Emergency Medical Responder (EMR)—the equivalent training of an entry level paramedic. EMR training comes with a price tag and requires additional equipment which wouldn’t be possible without support from generous donors.

“A lot of our team members are graduating this year so we really want to set the team up for success in the future,” says Shane. “Having this new equipment and the ability to provide more training will have a huge impact on the team moving forward.”

With Giving Day 2024 set to take place in April, Rowan and Shane are excited to see everyone come out again to support the Emergency First Response Team. This year, money raised will go towards the team’s day-to-day operations, training and advanced gear.

“Giving Day last year was amazing, we had so much fun, and it’s a great opportunity for us to learn more about philanthropy and to connect with the community,” says Rowan, who is in his second year of nursing school. “Seeing people give to our team makes me smile.”

What’s your cause? Help move the world forward on UBC Giving Day.