A veterinary service fraternity at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine embodies the Virginia Tech motto of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). The members' efforts have earned them national recognition for the second year in a row.

Members of the Lambda Chapter of Omega Tau Sigma (OTS) have been offering service, fundraising, and social activities at the veterinary college since 1985. They recently received the national chapter’s Dr. Robert Vesper Service Award.

“With about 45 members, we are one of the smallest OTS chapters in the U.S. and Canada,” explained Jessica Walters of Powhatan, Virginia, a third-year veterinary student. “Even though we are one of the smallest chapters, we are also one of the most active and operate as the primary student service group at the veterinary college.”

Last fall, third-year veterinary students Landon Collins of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Sam Grossberg of Rockville, Maryland, represented the veterinary college’s Omega Tau Sigma chapter at the Grand Council Meeting in Guelph, Ontario. The meeting gathered delegates from all chapters around the country for networking, fellowship, and chapter award presentations.

During the meeting, Collins and Grossberg gave a presentation highlighting the chapter’s service and fundraising activities over the past year. These included:

  • a canned food drive held in partnership with the college’s Alpha Psi veterinary fraternity to benefit the Interfaith Food Pantry;
  • a semi-annual Red Cross blood drive;
  • a “coin wars” competition to raise funds for Thanksgiving dinners for community members through the Montgomery County Emergency Assistance Program;
  • a donation drive held in partnership with the Shelter Club during the annual open house to benefit the Montgomery County Friends of Animal Care and Control;
  • a Pet Photos with Santa fundraiser for community members;
  • an Easter egg hunt on the college grounds for local families; and
  • a Casino Night fundraiser held in partnership with Alpha Psi and the Student Chapter for the American Veterinary Medical Association (SCAVMA) to raise funds for the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s Compassionate Care Fund.

The veterinary service fraternity’s outreach efforts were marked by several successes last year, including collecting more than 700 cans for the food drive and raising $9,000 for the Casino Night fundraiser. In 2015, Omega Tau Sigma members, along with their peers in Alpha Psi and SCAVMA, have already written a check for $12,800 to the Compassionate Care Fund following this year’s successful Casino Night.

“All of our fundraising activities benefit the college or the local community in some way,” Walters explained. “We don’t hold any fundraisers for the chapter itself. This commitment to service is what makes us such an outstanding chapter.”

The Dr. Robert Vesper Service Award is given in memory of Vesper, a Grand Council past president and alumnus of Omega Tau Sigma’s Gamma Chapter, and recognizes the chapter that has provided the most service support activities to its college, university, and surrounding community.

Written by Michael Sutphin.

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