VMBS Chapter Of Heifer International Hosts Annual Fundraising Gala

Story by Harley Nokes, VMBS Communications

Four students in dressy western attire at the Heifer International Gala
Veterinary students at the 2022 VMBS Heifer International Gala

The Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (VMBS) chapter of Heifer International successfully held their first annual fundraiser since the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic to raise money for Heifer International, a nonprofit organization working to end hunger and poverty sustainably by supporting and investing local farmers in their communities.

On Oct. 15, the only student chapter of Heifer International revived their gala, hosting around 100 attendees with food, drinks, entertainment, and a silent auction at the Ice House on Main in downtown Bryan.

“This year was about getting it back up and running, getting the awareness out again about the organization,” said Michaela Lehmann, president of the VMBS Heifer International chapter and third-year veterinary student. “It went well, and I think people are starting to talk about it more.”

Monetary donations from sponsors, like pet food companies Royal Canin and Purina, helped the VMBS chapter put on the gala, while businesses local to the Bryan-College Station area provided items for the silent auction.

“People really enjoyed our silent auction,” Claudia Wrampelmeier, VMBS Heifer International chapter sponsorship chair and third-year veterinary student, shared. “It was really fun to see people bid anonymously about who was going to get what gift. All of those proceeds benefit Heifer International.”

By the end of the gala, the VMBS chapter raised more than $3,000 for the federated Heifer International organization, according to Evann Bourgeois, VMBS Heifer International chapter fundraising chair and third-year veterinary student.

Two representatives of the federated organization–Oscar Castañeda, senior vice president of the Americas Programs, and Lindsay Duvall, donor relationship manager–spoke at the gala to explain how the money raised would help the global nonprofit achieve its mission.

Row of silent auction items
Silent auction items at the 2022 gala

“They shared how the gala is helping to impact Heifer International as a whole and the missions that they were working on,” Lehmann said.

Heifer International’s overall mission is to provide sustainable food and education to less fortunate people; the organization works in 21 countries alongside local farmers and business owners, according to the Heifer International website.

“Heifer International has a lot of programs where they not only provide food, but they also teach with the animals that they provide, including how people can create their own food in the future,” said Angelica Allegro, VMBS Heifer International chapter secretary and third-year veterinary student.

The VMBS Heifer International chapter plans to spend the remainder of the semester recruiting first- and second-year students who are passionate about the Heifer International mission and who can begin  planning the annual fundraiser for 2023, explained VMBS Heifer International chapter treasurer Marta Pulfer.

Skills such as event planning coordination, money management, and sponsorship recruitment    are beneficial to planning the fundraiser, said VMBS Heifer International chapter vice president Grace Piper, so the chapter is not limited to veterinary students.

“Another really important thing for people to know if they’re interested is they don’t have to know a lot about Heifer International or really even know anything when they first join,” Piper shared. “All they have to have is a heart for other people and a desire to help others to become members of our chapter.”

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For more information about the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our website at vetmed.tamu.edu or join us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Director of VMBS Communications, Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences; jgauntt@cvm.tamu.edu; 979-862-4216


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