Globemed solicits donations door-to-door, violates student handbook

Sean Lavery and Sean Lavery

Weinberg sophomore Alice Zhang was busy doing homework in her Foster-Walker Complex dorm room last week when a member of GlobeMed knocked on her door.

The GlobeMed student presented Zhang with two fliers, one promoting a blood drive, and another asking for donations for the GlobeMed Global Marketplace, an event the organization was planning. It was when the student group member asked Zhang for clothing and other items she might have lying around in her dorm room that Zhang became uncomfortable.

“I was a little bit annoyed since I knew it was against the rules. I don’t think she knew it was against the rules,” Zhang said, adding that the GlobeMed student was very polite, just “misinformed.”

The Northwestern Student Handbook provides strict guidelines regarding conduct in dorms, stating, “at no time and under no circumstances will door-to-door solicitation be permitted within the residence halls.”

GlobeMed, which promotes global health education and awareness, was founded on NU’s campus in 1999. They now have 33 chapters at colleges and universities nationwide. GlobeMed Market Place took place Tuesday in the Norris University Center.

Members of the group were enthusiastic about the response to the marketplace event, at which they sold everything from homemade bottle-cap earrings and board games to the clothes donated by the student population.

“The idea was to have a Northwestern-wide rummage sale. It’s a way to have recycling and sustainability while promoting a good cause,” said Alyson Weiner, a Weinberg senior and campaign coordinator for GlobeMed. “We’re very happy with the response.”

The day-long sale raised $1,300 for the sexual health education program at the H.O.P.E. Center in Ghana, organizers said after an unofficial account

That represented an increase from last year’s total of $1,200 and nearly met the group’s goal of $1,500.

But that does not entirely excuse the guidelines violation, officials said.

Dean of Students Burgwell Howard said GlobeMed was obviously in violation of publicity procedures.

“We want students to feel like they have a choice. Students might feel pressured, even for a good cause, they might feel intimidated to donate. We have a system, and everyone has to follow the rules,” he said.

Weiner offered an explanation for the collection strategy.

“GlobeMed did authorize going door-to-door. The goal was to tell as many people as possible,” she said. “Facebook events were not drawing enough attention.”

Weiner expressed frustration that other student groups utilize similar door-to-door solicitation, with few complaints from students.

“A lot of organizations, like ASG, do it. We’re not the only club that has violated this rule,” Weiner said.

She cited Foster-Walker Complex’s quiet dorm reputation as a reason students may have objected, and added that the response in Willard Residential Collegewas unanimously supportive.

Still, Weiner said she took personal responsibility for violating the student handbook policy and promised that GlobeMed would not repeat the offense.

[email protected]