New organization provides international aid


Brooke Even and Dane Hegdahl are bringing the  MEDLIFE organization to campus. The group is dedicated to helping impovershed communities.


The newly approved student organization, MEDLIFE, works to provide local and international aid to poverty stricken areas.

As noted on the MEDLIFE website, this organization seeks to improve the overall health and welfare of communities around the world.

MEDLIFE, which stands for Medication, Education and Development for Low-Income Families Everywhere is a tri-fold organization that works on medication, education and development in Peru, Ecuador and Tanzania.

Brooke Even, a junior pre-nursing major, is the South Dakota State University MEDLIFE chapter’s president and started the process to bring MEDLIFE to SDSU in July 2015.

The Students’ Association organizational subcommittee works with new student organizations to fill out the required paperwork and edit their constitutions. Though the process seems daunting, Nick Lorang, an SA senator on the subcommittee, has never said no to a group.

SDSU already has over 200 active clubs and organizations, but the SA subcommittee meets almost every week to review new organizations’ applications, Lorang said.

“It’s always a pretty easy process,” Lorang said. “And some of these organizations have really cool ideas.”

The organization was approved Monday night by the Students’ Association.

Even said she is excited to bring the new organization to campus. Something that makes MEDLIFE great is that it does not exclude any majors, Even said.

“I think it’s really cool because it pulls in all these different minds,” Even said. “And when you have different minds that think different ways you achieve something bigger than yourself.”

The first order of business is to fundraise money for the new organization. MEDLIFE is not able to provide any financial aid to the SDSU chapter and, currently, neither is SDSU. Organization members hope to pair with a local restaurant and receive part of their proceeds for a night to begin fundraising.

After they are financially stable, they hope to impact Peru, Ecuador and Tanzania as well as Brookings, South Dakota and the surrounding local area, including nearby American Indian reservations.

“We’re here to help them,” Even said. “We’re not here to belittle them by any means.”

Other areas Even hopes to impact are local classrooms.

“A lot of classes that are very important are being taken out of elementary, middle school and high school,” Even said. Family and consumer sciences are among those classes.

“Those classes are needed,” she said. “They’re not seen as being needed anymore, but they are.”

Dane Hegdahl, a sophomore biology, microbiology and pre-med major as well as MEDLIFE’s membership officer, has first-hand experience of a MEDLIFE trip to Peru. Hegdahl was based out of Cuzco, Peru and visited different villages each day on his eight-day trip. While there, they treated over 1,800 locals, he said.

MEDLIFE would set up in a classroom or a local’s home and have a general physician. They would do physicals, provide medicine, teach dental hygiene and more, Hegdahl said.

“My favorite thing was interacting with the kids because my Spanish isn’t the greatest of course and them being young children their Spanish wasn’t the greatest either,” Hegdahl said. “So, it was a lot of fun just trying to communicate with someone purely through physical gestures.”

People traveled from all over the country to Peru and made life-long friendships, he said. He now has friends in Los Angeles.

Over half of the other MEDLIFE members have been on a MEDLIFE mission trip before.

“I just thought that was cool that we already have that perspective coming in, with people that have gone,” Even said.