Széchenyi István University volunteers thanked for their work with an award

On Semmelweis Day, the management of Győr hospital recognized the efforts of the volunteers of Széchenyi István University during the epidemic period with a „For Petz Aladár Hospital” award. It is in large part thanks to the organizational work carried out by the University Service Centre and the Students’ Union, as well as the devoted steadfastness of the students that Győr-Moson-Sopron County managed to cope with the pandemic.

The community of Széchenyi István University proves that it can pull together in difficult situations. This was also necessary during the spring of this year, as the third wave of the coronavirus epidemic put a significant strain on the health system. At first, only health education students were called in to help, and then the opportunity was opened to volunteers. Their work was coordinated on behalf of the University by Eszter Máté, head of the University Service Centre.

 “Mandatory secondment for health care students began last November. They mainly took part in screenings, i.e. going to schools and social institutions to carry out testing. The big change took place in January, when Széchenyi István University took over the organization of the volunteers of the National Ambulance Service in Győr-Moson-Sopron County. From then until now, every week we send health care students and other volunteers to the ambulance service,” said Eszter Máté.

As we learned, the students also worked heroically on three fronts: in hospitals, ambulance services and vaccination stations.

 “During the most difficult period, the uninterrupted provision of care was the main task, so the hospital filled the lack of capacity with health care students. They also helped on Covid wards and with outpatient care,” the head of the centre continued. “Every week, we sent students to the ambulance service, both health care students and other volunteers, who took part in mobile testing, either as a driver or administrator. From April, volunteering in vaccination stations also started, where students performed several different tasks, from telephone information to computer data entry,” she added.


Klaudia Söller and Eszter Máté with the prize. (Photo: József Csaba Májer)

Although the University Service Centre undertook to coordinate the volunteers, most of the recruitment was the responsibility of the University Students’ Union.

“We advertised the opportunity in every existing forum, of course primarily on social media,” said Klaudia Söller, vice president of the Students’ Union. “We tried to set a good example, so we encouraged our own members to get involved in volunteering. We are proud that many of the Students’ Union have applied for the various positions. There were some people who at first took on only one shift, but they liked the job so much that they are still now working at OMSZ,” she informed us.

The numbers speak for themselves: 150 volunteers registered for the ambulance service in a day or two, and 250 for vaccination points. In recent months during the mobile testing, volunteer teams covered more than 100,000 kilometres, which translates to about 10,000 samples. The use of health care students is characterized by the fact that in the most intensive phase they worked continuously for four weeks, six days a week. Of the Szechenyi students, the record-breaking volunteer, starting from 18 January, endured the work for 18 weeks, taking just a few days off - also largely at the urging of the organizers.

"The third wave of the epidemic has taken full advantage of everyone, including us," said Eszter Máté, who said that the volunteers had undergone experiences in recent months that had strengthened their characters. “We have a lot of heart-breaking stories that will volunteers will never forget. That is why we are pleased that on the joint initiative of the National Conference of Student Unions and EFOTT Kft. with the support of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, participants received a free Covid Hero day ticket for the zero day of the EFOTT festival. Another benefit is that the volunteers were this summer exempted from being reclassified,” the head of the Centre said, adding that students are also grateful to lecturers, who, appreciating their service, were very flexible with them in the examination.

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