This post comes to us from Kate Donovan, one of Foundation Beyond Belief’s fall interns, with contributions from AJ Chalom. Kate is a student at Northwestern University, where she studies psychology and human development, and is the president of NU’s Secular Student Alliance.
It was a sort of cheerful hullabaloo when I visited the GlobeMed Annual Leadership Institute. No one made particular note of the girl who just appeared to be another student leader, but everyone smiled. A few minutes of confused wandering later, I’d asked two people for directions to the woman I was instructed to meet, been handed a cup of coffee and a conference packet, and was hoping I didn’t accidentally get recognized by any attendants from my university. GlobeMed is Foundation Beyond Belief’s current Poverty & Health beneficiary, and I had come to get a closer look at the organization.
GlobeMed is a network of university students who, through grassroots organizing and partnerships with local and international organizations, are fighting to improve the health of those living in poverty. Students had come from all over the United States to attend the Leadership Institute—representatives from 49 of the 50 chapters were present, all eager to meet each other and share advice and experience. As leaders, they had similar experiences and questions about group organization: “How do I engage thirty new members?” “I badgered all my friends to join!”
The Leadership Institute was inspirational for the student leaders, but it also focused on teaching the nuts and bolts of grassroots organizing, developing relationships with local leaders and businesses, and fundraising. Each school has a fundraising goal to provide a certain amount of support to their partner organization. The experienced leaders from established groups mentored the new groups trying to find their footing, and each student had their own inspiring story about why they were attracted to GlobeMed.
Runjhun Bhatia of USC told of another group that once installed fans in her grandmother’s home in New Delhi. Inspired by the ability of a few driven activists to create change, she sought out a group that could do the same, and found a home in GlobeMed.
Aliana Smith of Washington University talked about wanting to find a group that was “having a conversation” about improving the lives of others—something she didn’t find until she joined an established GlobeMed chapter.
GlobeMed is inspiring students to create a change in the world, and then tell everyone else how they’ve done it. From creating inspiring and moving programs on their campus, to the nitty-gritty of how to track success on an Excel spreadsheet, the Globe Med Leadership Institute was about motivating individual chapter leaders to succeed.