Friday, January 13, 2006

Galens is a Michigan original

For those of you who don’t know, here are some details (directly from the website,

“Established in 1914, the Galens Medical Society is a tradition at the University of Michigan Medical School. Originally conceived as an honorary society, Galens has evolved into a unique organization of medical students and faculty dedicated to improving the welfare of the children of Washtenaw County while making medical school life a little more enjoyable.”

Tag Days, arguably the largest Galens event, and certainly the most profitable one, took place early in December (this year it was the 2nd and 3rd, but it’s the first weekend in December each year). “Taggers” (read: medical students wearing every piece of clothing they own underneath a big red poncho, a “Tag Days” sandwich board, and carrying a bucket filled with little paper tags) descended upon Ann Arbor to ask passersby for donations. 100% of the money raised during Tag Days goes directly to different pediatric charities in Washtenaw County (members pay dues to cover overhead), so it’s a great cause! Although by then end of the two days people were holding their tags like garlic to ward off vampires, most of the queries to “Please help us help the children of Washtenaw County” were greeted with smiles and the sound of money dropping into buckets.

I did three shifts, four hours each. Picture the little kid in “A Christmas Story” and you’ll have a good idea of how much clothing I was wearing. While I may not have been able to bend at the waist, I was still able to approach people walking and ask them to donate. And I was warm through all 12 hours. I was also quite able to enjoy the food and drink delivered by the happy vans. (If the idea of raising money for the children isn’t enough to get folks into their ponchos and out on the street, the thought of happy faculty members driving around in minivans filled with hot chocolate and donated food items usually does it…) Here is a picture of me before I headed out (with Eric, who helped me assemble my sandwich board):

Last I heard we had raised over $53,000, and there were still checks coming in the mail. Activities like these add a lot to the medical school experience. While standing outside for hours might not seem like the ideal study break, it’s actually a lot of fun (we go in pairs). And, since most of us came to medical school because we want “to help people” (please pardon the overused, yet nonetheless true, statement), raising money for pediatric charities is a great way to start. Check out the Galens website ( for more information on other great Galens events!

No comments:

Post a Comment