Public Service Event: Oral Rehydration Kits

Morgan Blackburn making oral rehydration kits

Morgan Blackburn making oral rehydration kits

On April 7th, OID partnered with OneBrickDC and Save the Children to create oral rehydration kits. Although this was OID’s first year volunteering, the event is now in it’s 7th year and created 20,000 mixtures to ship to children in the developing world, which will help to prevent life-threatening dehydration. Proving that GWU is a true community, Professor Fink took time out of her weekend to join in and brought her children, as well! She said of the event, “I really appreciate that this year’s OID board initiated a service project and hope that future OID boards do the same.  It was great to be able to do something meaningful and fun together.” Thank you to everyone who made it out to join in–and check the OID calendar; in addition to our end of the academic year festivities, we hope to include more volunteer activities in the future!

Morgan Blackburn, a first year in the IDS program, was kind enough to tell us all about her experience:

OID: First things first: Tell everyone a little bit about yourself: what made you want to get into development? What is your area of concentration or interest?

Morgan Blackburn: My focus is mostly humanitarian assistance with a little bit of climate change, which is directly related to why I’m studying development. I did my undergraduate degree in New Orleans and was there when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, so that had a big impact on my life and changed my trajectory — until then I thought I was going to be a scientist.

OID: What were you doing for the community service day?

Morgan Blackburn: OID sponsored a service day with Save the Children where we assembled oral rehydration packets. We essentially sat in a circle at a table and filled packets with a sugar-potassium-baking soda-salt mixture assembly line style. My job was to use a funnel to pour the powdered mixture into an envelope. The packets are then shipped to Save the Children programs all over the world.

Members of OID and Professor Fink (with her two children) volunteering

Members of OID and Professor Fink (with her two children) volunteering

OID: Do you feel like this was a good thing to have done? Do you think it made an impact?

Morgan Blackburn: It was a nice to do a service day, so personally it made me feel good to have done it but there was a lot of discussion at our table about whether it would have been better to assemble the packets in-country with goods from the country by local people or maybe not have packets at all and instead teach people how to make their own salt-sugar solution at home.

OID: What was the best/worst part of this volunteer experience? Would you do it again?

Morgan Blackburn: Actually I think the best part was chatting with other volunteers at the event. There was a retired Foreign Service Officer who had lived all over the world and been witness to some interesting periods in history and another man who’d made his career at USAID. I’d do it again if there were interest, but I have to say that it’s not the most stimulating work?

OID: Do you think there will be future volunteer events?

Morgan Blackburn: We’d like to have some more service events in the future, but there are none on the roster for the rest of the spring. I think we’re interested in doing something outdoors in the fall, like a trash clean up.