The Real EMS Girls of KDS

Over a decade and half old, St. Lawrence Emergency Medical Services (SLU EMS) has provided students on Basic Life Support (BLS) First Response services to the St. Lawrence University campus and surrounding area 24 hours for every week students are on campus.  The organization also serves as stand-bys for major University athletic and social events.  Responding to a variety of calls, from sports injuries to headaches to intoxicated patients, SLU EMS is composed of 25 students who are either NY-state certified EMTs or First Responders.

Two sisters, Marissa Saunders and Sydney Baker sat down together to talk about their unique experiences being part of the newest pledge class of KDS and members of SLU EMS together.

Read Marissa’s perspective, written by Sydney:

Originally from Whately, Massachusetts, Marissa has a twin sister and danced for fifteen years back at home.  She wants to have a career in healthcare management or healthcare administration and her dream job would be being a CEO of a hospital. In the summers past, she worked at a candy store.

“My perfect day would be visiting a beach town in New England,  exploring the village, eating at a cute cafe, and ending the night with a long walk on the beach at sunset with her dog and family for good company. ” Marissa Saunders, Class 2020, giggles through her answer.

At St. Lawrence Marissa is a biology major, and joined both SLU EMS and KDS in the Fall of 2017.  She hopes to participate in a summer study abroad program in either Croatia or Denmark during her time at SLU. On top of juggling a hectic schedule, Marissa is both the treasurer for the Panhellenic Council and Dance Team, an intern for Planned Giving at SLU, is a member of the PLEN Chapter, and is the assistant treasurer for KDS.

When asked why she wanted to join KDS, Marissa’s whole face lights up as she says, “Why wouldn’t I have wanted to join KDS, I wanted to be a part of an organization of a strong, caring, and motivated, young women at St. Lawrence.  I wanted to be a part of something more meaningful and from the moment I started meeting sisters, I knew there would not have been a more perfect fit for me.”

Marissa enjoys spending time with KDS sisters and some of her favorite activities on campus include chilling in The Den while drinking a cup of Mexican hot chocolate, porch sitting at KDS, and taking a stroll through the Enchanted Forest. Marissa’s favorite day of the week is Taco Tuesday and Bill’s brownies warm her heart from the inside out.

As we sit by the fireplace on the second floor of the student center, she pulls her Bean boots up onto the “comfy chairs,” and answers ‘what is it like to be a first responder?’

“I’ve always had a passion for healthcare and healthcare delivery.  I just like helping people and having an impact on their lives.  For me [SLU EMS] is a perfect way to serve the community.”

“[As a First Responder] I take vitals [blood-pressures, pulses, lung sounds, and pupil dilation].  Fall Fest is one of our biggest events of the year and this past semester it was actually my first time ever being on a call.  I learned so much that day!”  Marissa scratches the surface level of being on SLU EMS.  For many, SLU EMS is a form of reassurance that provides pre-hospital emergency care to all persons in need.  For students who are away from their families and experiencing real medical emergencies on their own for most likely the first time in their lives, SLU EMS is peer-friendly organization that serves the community.

The girls change roles, and Marissa interviews Sydney:

Sydney grew up in Darien, Connecticut and has an older brother that lives in Spain. At home she swam competitively and played water polo for almost her entire life before she caught the travel bug and developed a passion for outdoor adventures. In the future, Sydney hopes to be a Shark biologist for some time before she starts her own outdoor education company, travel magazine, and hopes to ultimately be named a National Geographic Explorer.

“My perfect day would be waking up on my own boat at sunrise, either sailing in Croatia or New Zealand, and I would go scuba diving, where I would definitely see lots and lots of sharks.  After, I would sail to a new town, get off my boat, hike, and explore the local cultures. Then, I would have a nice meal at a local hole-in-the-wall restaurant. This is a really long day, but I would want to go surfing until sunset and then wind down at night by listening to local, live music, and finally reading my book to do it all over again the next day.” Sydney Baker, a sophomore, grappled with all of the endless possibilities for her outdoor adventure of a perfect day.

Sydney is a double major in Global Studies and Conservation Biology. In addition to KDS and being an EMT on campus, she is the FIRST EVER Diversity Chair on the Panhellenic Council, conducts independent research with Nature Up North, is a conversation partner with an international student, writes for The Hill News, and a member of the Environmental Action Organization.

Sydney loves to get coffee at the bookstore before embarking on a ski excursion or hike. After spending a day outside, she would get dinner at Dana Dining Hall and then hangout with her friends and KDS sisters before going to a concert at Java! Her favorite accessory: glitter.

In Sydney’s hometown, they have an independent volunteer organization led by high school age students called Darien EMS Post 53. She went through the selection process when she was just 14 years old and obtained her EMT license when she was 16. She has been going on calls and working as a care provider for seven years! When she came to SLU after she did the London FYP, joining SLU EMS seemed like the perfect way to dive into the SLU community by doing what she loves and is passionate about. The most rewarding part of SLU EMS for Sydney is being able to help people and it is wonderful to be a part of an organization where she can continuously give back to the community.

Sydney really enjoys sitting in on SLU EMS ride-abouts, on weekend nights “on call” members spend time together driving around in the EMS vehicle monitoring campus. She says ride-abouts are the perfect opportunity to genuinely get to know team members. It reminds her of her other EMS organization back home which she loves so much.


KDS is an organization where we are surrounded by other leaders and people with lifelong affections for community service. Our sisters push us to work harder, and we constantly feel supported. These strong values are what we try to bring back to our house and love to share with others.

by Sydney Baker and Marissa Saunders

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