This week Hamilton College celebrates with other schools across the country in National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Week, which recognizes the College’s Emergency Medical Service (HCEMS) program. The service is available to all community members of the College 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the year when classes are in session. The program is made up of student volunteers who all are New York State certified EMTs.
Matt Reinemann ’17 is one of these student volunteers. He decided to join the program after speaking with a student EMT on campus. From that initial conversation, he realized that becoming an EMT meant joining “a tight-knit team of individuals who hold themselves to high standards,” Reinemann explained. “I wanted to be a part of that.”
After being accepted into the program during his first year on the Hill and taking the EMT certification class the summer before his second year, he was able to join the group of student volunteers. This has been one of his favorite aspects of the job: the students he works with and the students he meets while working. Reinemann remarked, “So many people are kind and appreciative, and it’s so rewarding to be able to help them. My coworkers are incredibly dedicated and smart.”
Even with these rewarding moments, working as an EMT hasn’t been easy—and not just because it requires being on-call 30-40 hours each week, taking weekly review quizzes and attending mandatory review sessions every three weeks. “Every once in a while, you encounter people in especially difficult moments in their lives. For the variety of calls that we receive, sometimes things make us pause and evaluate,” Reinemann said. Likewise, as every call they receive is unique, their response must be different for every case. “Sometimes this means it is fun and exciting, and sometimes it means you have to think on your feet.”
The challenges have taught Reinemann some important lessons outside of his work in the classroom as a full-time student. “Humility and empathy are valuable, both to give and to receive,” he said. “Before becoming an EMT, I had called 911 once, and it terrified me. But now, being on the other side, I’ve gotten used to the nature of emergencies and understand that everyone is different.” In short, he summarized, “No emergency is too small.”
And as a member of the HCEMS program, he has seen his fair share of campus emergencies. The Hamilton program responds to over 100 medical emergencies each semester. But with the support of his fellow volunteers it’s manageable. Reinemann concluded, “I’m very proud to wear the uniform of such a strong team.”
Hamilton's other HCEMS members are: Kevin Alcala ’19, Matthew Bleich ’18, Jonathan Capelin ’17, Hawer Conteh ’17, Annalise Curtis ’18, Andrew Fischer ’17, Sarah Gamblin ’17, Jack Goodman ’18, Rachel Gramlich ’18, Paul Green ’17, Henry (Jack) Gumina ’19, Catherine McCutcheon ’18, Kaia Miller ’18, Zachary Perez ’19, Elliot Plaut ’19, Matthew Reinemann ’17, Travis Roeder ’18, Katherine Spano ’18, Julia Tsvyakh ’19, Abigail Tulchinsky ’18, Emily (Emma) Weller ’19 and Hua (Hannah) Yep ’19.
Local ABC affiliate WUTR interviewed Andrew Fischer and Sarah Gamblin for a feature story about National Collegiate EMS Week.