Veterinary service fraternity personifies “Ut Prosim,” recognized at national conference

Adrienne Bush of Silver Spring, Maryland, is a third-year DVM student at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine pursuing the small animal track. She is vice-president of the DVM Class of 2018 and has served as president of the college’s chapter of Omega Tau Sigma (OTS), an international veterinary service fraternity, for two years. In addition to service, her interests include naturopathic medicine, animal welfare, and public health. She hopes to work in small animal private practice after graduation, and plans to become certified through the Chi institute in acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

OTS members pose with their award
The college's chapter of the veterinary service fraternity Omega Tau Sigma received the national chapter’s 2016 T. C. Fitzgerald Memorial Progress Award - Most Improved and was selected to host the national conference next year.

During my first OTS meeting as a new DVM student in 2014, I remember fondly reading the first slide of the club’s introductory PowerPoint presentation. It explained the goal of the fraternity, “To encourage and foster the development of well-rounded, ethical veterinarians and through them create a better profession on the basis of friendship, cooperation, and respect for their fellow professional.” I thought to myself, who wouldn’t want to be part of an organization with that goal? And with that, I decided to become a member. “What is one more club?” I thought and two months later, I was elected president of OTS.

Now two years later, my participation in and love of the organization has brought me more pride and self-fulfillment than I could have imagined that “one more club” could.

Adrienne Bush with two award certificates
Adrienne Bush shows off the awards both the college's OTS chapter and she personally received at the 2016 OTS Grand Council meeting in Champaign, Illinois.

Last month, I traveled to Champaign, Illinois to attend the national OTS Grand Council meeting held on Oct. 21-23. The meeting is held yearly at different veterinary schools and this was the first time I was able to attend. Grand Council is a unique opportunity to meet with veterinary students from other chapters around the country to share experiences and successes from the last year.

We spent a large part of the weekend in a delegates meeting, presenting on the strengths and weaknesses of our chapters with delegates from other schools. Sharing ideas and encouragement with other members allowed growth for each of our chapters as a whole and was incredibly empowering. At the end of the meeting, each of the 40 delegates submitted award nominations for many categories with winners announced at the awards banquet that night. More than 160 veterinary students from across the country were in attendance at the banquet when our chapter was among those presented with honors.

First, our OTS chapter received the T. C. Fitzgerald Memorial Progress Award - Most Improved, which recognizes the chapter that has made the greatest strides in improving its chapter facilities, increasing its membership, inducting honorary members, and contributing the greatest on the whole to the advancement of the veterinary profession. Second, I received the John C. Gordon Award of Excellence, which acknowledges superior OTS members at the national level. Finally, and I believe most importantly, our chapter won the bid to host Grand Council next year in Blacksburg, Virginia.

When I joined OTS in Fall 2014, most of the active members were third- and fourth-year students, so one of my main goals was to increase awareness of the chapter and recruit more first- and second-year student members. Two years later, with the help of amazing, dedicated officers and members, it feels like our hard work has paid off. This past year, we hosted 16 community outreach and fundraising events, which benefited a variety of causes including Virginia Tech’s Relay for Life, local animal shelters, the Red Cross, and the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s Compassionate Care Fund. It is rewarding to receive recognition for these efforts and our service to the community and the veterinary profession.

I am excited for the opportunity to play a role in hosting the OTS Grand Council meeting in the coming year. It is an honor to host an event that will not only highlight our growing chapter but also provide our college a unique opportunity to showcase itself to veterinary students across the United States and Canada.

OTS members at the Pet Portraits with Santa fundraiser
Among the many OTS service events held throughout the year is the popular Pet Portraits with Santa event, a community fundraiser which benefits local animal shelters and rescue organizations.