Each semester, students enrolled in the Global Microloan Program will update this site with their weekly program logs. The Spring 2020 student teams include Enterprise Development and Program Impact Audits; Finance and Risk Assessment; Marketing and Fundraising and Technology and Communications.
Enterprise Development and Program Impact Audits Team: Khaled Atallah, Nathan Greene, Lauren Horan*, Aurélie LaBorde, Krist Sokoli, Kyle Waibel*
Finance and Risk Assessment Team: Drew Cary, Tyge Duffy, Harrison Harvey, Carter McClean, Asiah Raja, Cara Yesko*
Marketing and Fundraising Team: Stephen Gavrielidis, Sabrina Ghiozzi, Jennifer Portillo, Lauryn Simon, Anthony Williams, Mary Zouvelos*Technology and Communications Team: Kassandra Alfaro*, Faryal Mohammed, Andrew Sapia, Jenny Siguachi, Johnny Wiley*Team Liaisons
Finance, Budgets and Risk Assessment Team
By: Cara Yesko
The first two weeks of GLOBE have fruitfully flown by. Coming into the first week of class, thoughts of microfinance, it’s textbook definition, intricacies and deficiencies were at the top of my mind. Our assigned readings had raised a lot of questions about how GLOBE plays a role in this sustainable niche of a stereotypically rigid industry. Who would our borrowers be? What were their goals? How could we help? The Fall 2019 Managers passed on their torch nicely at final presentations, but I was excited to see how my team, and I, could craft our own initiatives in this new season.
I am even more excited now. This semester’s Finance & Risk Assessment team will be evaluating a total of eight loans from Nicaragua and Vietnam. Each loan has a distinctive purpose: to fix a falling wall, buy a motorbike for commutation, purchase goats, cultivate an organic farm, install a water irrigation system, and more. Our group has a keenness to create the best recommendations possible, but also to restructure the loan application for increased efficiency and implement data analysis and visualizations in order to synthesis information about loan repayment outcomes. We’ve already begun, and in doing so, have formed a greater understanding of our potential borrower’s needs- a crucial step in microfinance. I have also come to realize the importance of the Daughters of Charity to GLOBE’s success during my first two weeks in the program.
In May of 2019, I had the opportunity to visit three cities in Ukraine with nine other St. John’s students as part of a Campus Ministry “Plunge”. During the course of this trip, our group stayed at the homes of Vincentian priests and Daughters of Charity who offered us not only shelter, but food, and insight into their personal journeys in faith, and in Ukraine. Meeting the Daughters of Charity, and witnessing the unparalleled degree of effort, time, and love that they put into the volunteer outreach initiatives they pioneered, was truly one of the greatest takeaways of the trip.
I was stunned by such devout dedication. For that reason, I am even more excited to complete loan recommendations and contribute to GLOBE in the best way that I can this semester in an attempt to match even a small percent of the Daughters’ charity that I am certain they are putting into this initiative in the countries we work in.
Enterprise Development and Program Impact Audits Team
By: Krist Sokoli
Throughout my five years at St. John’s, I have had first-hand experience of how closely intertwined finance and healthcare are. Whether it be through my day to day experiences at various pharmacies in New York or my medical service trips to Ghana and Honduras with Global Brigades, it has been painfully evident that finance and macroeconomics dictate the accessibility and effectiveness of healthcare. This is why GLOBE captured my interest as soon as I heard about the program. GLOBE provides me the opportunity to work with a team of dedicated students to make a sustainable impact on the lives of individuals and, potentially, the microeconomy of a community. This impact, in my opinion, can cause a ripple effect in a community’s overall health and quality of life.
The readings assigned to us in class have been practically useful to me due to my limited exposure to finance and economics. They have provided me a sturdy foundation of economics and finance but have also exposed me microfinance. It was particularly interesting to see the struggles of Muhammed Yunus’ and how his innovative concept came to fruition. It was even more exciting to read about how microfinance has evolved since its inception, the challenges it faces today, and how other thought-leaders are pushing the envelope to discover innovations to change the world.
My medical mission trips have been truly rewarding experiences, but my only grievance has been with the brief time I was able to contribute to the cause. The most exciting part about GLOBE is the opportunity to work on improvements and solutions for a full semester. While the Enterprise Development and Program Impact Audits team has tons of responsibilities, I hope to focus on creating long-term improvements within GLOBE itself. My thoughts are that if GLOBE can fine polish and tune our operations today, inefficiencies can be minimized, and the impact can be maximized for tomorrow and for years to come. Additionally, I was inspired to hear that health is one of the most common reasons that borrowers fail to repay their loans. I hope to not only provide the borrowers with what I’ve learned from pharmacy school, but to inspire other pharmacy students to take this course as well.
Marketing and Fundraising Team
By: Sabrina Ghiozzi
The first time I heard of GLOBE, I was a guest at the 21st Annual St. John’s President’s Dinner. After hearing what GLOBE was about, I was in awe that there was a course as life-changing as GLOBE offered here at St. John’s. I knew that I needed to be a part of this opportunity because it's more than just a course. Here I am two years later and a few weeks into the course, as a GLOBE manager and a part of the Marketing team! In the short 3 weeks that have gone by, I have already learned so much. The readings assigned by Dr. Sama have offered me a glimpse of an entirely different world. I have learned about what Microfinancing is and the impact it has on people living in poverty. Microfinance involves lending small loans to rising entrepreneurs in developing countries to assist them in starting up a business or supporting their livelihood. The loans vary in amount but can be anywhere between fifty dollars up toward a few hundred dollars. These loans are to be paid back by the borrowers with interest. This provides the borrower with both a sense of dignity and pride as they aren’t receiving a handout. GLOBE lends just the right amount of money to get these hopeful borrowers back on their feet contributing to their society.
After reading about Muhammad Yunus, the father of Microfinance, my team members and I are empowered to seek out the injustices of poverty and ask how we can fix it, even when the world may be turning the other cheek. He was haunted by the issues of poverty that surrounded him. Yunus is one of the few to step out of their comfort zone in Chittagong, Bangladesh working to find a solution to the poverty that sits on his doorstep. We learn that even with the best interest at heart, we can’t help everyone and that no solution is perfect. Things like world peace or ending poverty, seem like impossible problems to overcome, but even an attempt makes a difference. Impacting a few lives is better than none. That’s what we plan on doing this semester in GLOBE, making an impact.
So far the Marketing team has been working hard on our objectives. Dr. Sama and Lina have sat with us to redirect our objectives to be more time and goal-specific. Our main goal is to raise as much money as we can while working with the technology team to raise awareness of who GLOBE is and what we do. In just a few day’s we have planned for our first fundraiser, a Valentine’s bake sale! Lina told us that a successful bake sale raises around 500$, so that’s the monetary goal we have set for ourselves. We have a table, decorations, and GLOBE members volunteering their talent and time.
The Marketing team is in the middle of discussing new and old fundraising favorites. We are figuring which events would result in the highest profit. The empowering mission of GLOBE has us excited. We want to raise a lot of money and hold many fundraisers, but Dr. Sama reminds us that although the attitude is great, we can’t get in over our heads. We’ve agreed that fewer, better-planned events will prove to be just, if not more successful than many events held in a short time period. I am so excited to be in a group full of like-minded individuals. We are all here for the same reason, to make a difference. Because of this, we work and communicate very well with one another. I see a successful semester ahead of us.
Technology and Communications Team
By: Jenny Siguachi
When I first heard about GLOBE, I immediately knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. It isn’t like a regular class. It is a student-managed academic program with a mission of “building a global community that contributes to the goal of eradicating poverty within our lifetime.” It is a hands-on class that allows everyone to apply their set of skills to fulfill a task. On the first day of class, I was a little anxious because I did not know what to expect. However, that changed a few minutes into the class because of how strongly interaction is encouraged among the teams. GLOBE not only helps those they’re giving loans to, but it also helps the students who are part of the program in different ways. For example, I am not the best when it comes to public speaking and GLOBE pushes me to be comfortable in the uncomfortable. Therefore, making me look forward to seeing the result in my improvement when it comes to public speaking.
Throughout my life, I have always had an interest in entrepreneurship, however, social entrepreneurship had never crossed my mind. GLOBE allows me to make a difference by bettering the lives of people as well as their community. The presentations we do in class help a lot since they are based on the readings, which are surprisingly super relevant to the class. When people think of microfinance, they automatically link it to a corporation. GLOBE, however, challenges this idea and instead makes microfinance work for the common good. Muhammad Yunus gives us a better understanding of the concepts of microcredit and microfinance. He makes it simple to understand by giving us a sense of the borrower's environment. He does this through his books and the stories he tells about the different people who have been affected by these loans. It is truly inspiring to read these stories especially when we are doing something similar to what Muhammad Yunus did.
When it came to our team objectives, we did a really good job of coming up with different ways to promote GLOBE and increase engagement through its social media platforms. One of them that I am really looking forward to is Takeover Tuesdays since it will give our followers more of a feel of what GLOBE really is and will give them a chance to get to know the GLOBE managers of Spring 2020.
By: Harrison Harvey
In class, we have talked about the continuation of the GLOBE program and how many people have come before us and the depth that comes with that. However, it did not fully impact me until I saw twenty people, some I knew others I didn’t, all from different years, to really explain to me the power of this program. It was really incredible to see and talk to the people who have put in so much time and energy into this program before me. I appreciated talking to the former members of the Finance team and hearing their tips and trick about how to be the most productive this semester. It was really enlightening when the previous managers looked over our objectives and gave us feedback on how we could improve them as it not only forced us to spell out the purpose for the goals but made us reflect on if they are tangible or not. Though talking with the former Finance team members about GLOBE was insightful and helpful, it was also really beneficial when we talked about business in general. I had some great discussions about what to do after college and how this class is really a door opener to see what you like and don’t like. One of the people I was talking to is going back to get her accelerated degree to be a doctor and that was something that I had never heard of but I appreciated it because she was open and was really trying to tell us to do what we love doing. I also appreciated talking to people who weren’t on the Finance team and hearing their roles and how GLOBE has impacted them. Last week, I talked about getting to know what the other teams do in the program and I got a really interesting and clear insight about how the entire program works.
One of the highlights from my week was giving at the bake sale. I was surprised by how much people bought as I personally am not one who buys from bake sales that often. It was a really good feeling to sell for GLOBE especially knowing how much easier these events can make the rest of the year. I haven’t participated in a bake sale since maybe Middle School and I really enjoyed it. It was also a good way for me to get to know some of the other members in the class that are not in on the Finance team. We ran into someone who was once a GLOBE member and now a teacher and they talked about how important the fundraisers are and how even more important it is for people to show up and help. I hope that I was helpful for the bake sale and I really appreciated all of the people that can bake because I can’t.
Last week, I talked about being surer in my skills when it comes to Finance and the roles that I am responsible for, and this week will be the first real test. I can kind of feel the pressure of making sure that everything is correct, properly presented and that I have full knowledge of what I am talking about. I think my team has been really helpful by also asking a lot of questions to one another and Dr. Sama, making sure that we are all on the same page. I feel like our open and honest communication is one of the main reasons we work well together as a group. I wonder how the other groups communicate, if it’s just in class or calls or group chats. This week, I really want to get started researching on my topic for my paper and hopefully, with the research I can narrow my broad topic down to something more manageable through what I find to be interesting. Also, I want to make sure to keep in contact with some of the previous GLOBE members that came and hopefully use them for guidance and understanding, especially when the semester gets inevitably more hectic.
By: Kyle Waibel
In the last week, my experience with GLOBE has changed slightly. The two events that happened this week were the alumni of the classes of years past visiting the class, as well as the bake sale. Both of these events showed me how passionate some people are about this program. These things have really shown me how GLOBE can affect others, and more importantly how I can be a catalyst for that change.
First, the alumni coming to class gave me a few things. One, it gave me peace of mind that if other people can get through the class I could too. I have been feeling kind of overwhelmed and felt like I had the complete wrong skillset to be useful in this class but after speaking with the alumni I have gained reassurance. Having the alumni come in and talking to the current students showed me that it is possible to get through the class, and not just to get through it, but to also be able to get actual work done that positively affects the borrowers. They spoke to us about how at times the class can be stressful, and it puts you in situations that you’ve never been in as a student, but in the end, all of your hard work pays off. And the hard work pays off in a meaningful way. Additionally, through meeting the older students I truly left like I was part of the GLOBE community. Seeing all of these students who, even though their time in class is over, they still are passionate enough about the program to take time out of their week to come and speak to the current GLOBE students. All of the alumni were more than eager to help all of us with anything we need. We were flooded with texts and emails of past goals and flyers that were made to be a basis for the work we are creating, and we were also given everyone’s contact information that was received with the message that we can ask them for anything or any help we needed for this program. Finally, through this meeting, I was able to gain direction within my own work in the class. I have been kind of floundering through this class, but speaking to the older students and seeing what they have accomplished in their classes gave me an insight into what I can achieve in this class. Seeing their successes, failures, and everything in between gave me a realistic view of what I can realistically accomplish in this class.
The second event of the week that I observed was the bake sale, the first fundraising event of the year. This was a great way to see how passionate my fellow students were about the program. Seeing everyone show up in their GLOBE t-shirts with baked goods in hand, and a drive to sell everything showed me a side of the class that I haven’t seen before. It was the people who I usually listen to lectures and do group work with in action. I saw everyone truly working to make a difference, even if it is small, for the program and the borrowers.
These two events have re-invigorated my passion for this program. Seeing other people who are working for the same cause as I am drives me to work even harder. Seeing the passion other people have for this program proves to me that my work here is not wasted and has the potential to change the world.
By: Mary Zouvelos
This past week my team, the Marketing Team, conducted the first fundraising event of the semester, a Valentine’s Day bake sale. We were very fortunate to be able to book a table in Marillac hall for a few hours in hopes of raising $400 and bring awareness of GLOBE to the St. John’s Community.
As we approached bake sale day, the occasional obstacle would pop up, whether we didn’t have enough people to staff the table or not enough baked goods. Like with any event, Marketing Team experienced some turbulence. During times of uncertainty and stress, I thought about Dr. Sama’s advice. “Always look back to our entrepreneurs.” So, I did. Being able to go and look at the profiles of those who depended on GLOBE reenergized me when I was feeling low or having doubts. It was a force that motivated me to organize the best bake sale I possibly could. After much hard work from my team, we were able to raise $500!
Looking back, I am really grateful for the obstacles that were encountered. If everything went smoothly there would not be experiences to learn from. They have provided good lessons and adjustment to expectations for future projects, which I know will prove very helpful.
Above everything, I truly appreciate Dr. Sama and Lina who have served as amazing mentors and the GA, Ayana who is always so eager to give advice or aid in any problem the team is experiencing.
By: Faryal Mohammed
Last Tuesday marked the second GLOBE class of the semester. Being in GLOBE is unlike any class I have ever taken. With the Bake Sale having a wonderful turnout I really feel like we are all off to a good start. Being a part of the Information and Technology team has opened my eyes to so many more possibilities when regarding microfinance with our borrowers. Social media is an essential part of advertising and bringing awareness to certain things as well as informative and intriguing. Our team did such an amazing job at getting the word out about GLOBE and spreading the news via multiple platforms gaining a lot of traction for this past sale. Without our team, it may have been a little more difficult to gain the presence that we received. Working with the marketing team was also really fun as well. It was nice to expand our teams into one while working on this project.
We also spent some time creating a PowerPoint for this upcoming class based on readings in the books assigned by Dr. Sama. I really enjoy these presentations because it really helps me step out of my comfort zone and speak to a larger audience of people. I also like that we learn so much information from our peers and their presentations as well since we all do different topics in different books
Speaking with the past GLOBE managers also helped us solidify our objectives as a team and realize what changes needed to be instated to create a bigger media presence over all platforms. It was really a fun time to hear what worked for each manager at different times of the year, what unique things were tried that was successful and what to steer away from.
Being in GLOBE is such a wonderful experience and Dr. Sama makes it so worthwhile. You wouldn’t believe you just sat in a 3 hour class and soon the semester will be over. The class is structured in such a hands-on interactive way, that hours feel like minutes and before you know it its time to go.
By: Tyge Duffy
Our reading from last week was about financial inclusion and different financial inclusion strategies. This chapter compounded with our last reading was very interesting (which makes sense since it was from the same book). The prior week I was shocked to learn that more than 50% of the world is unbanked, so financial inclusion strategies are very important in helping get more people access to basic financial tools. One of the most striking strategies was so simple yet made so much sense. This was that government should make social payments (welfare, social security, pensions) electronic direct deposits. This would force anyone receiving a government payment to have at least a bank account. It’s amazing that something so simple could be useful.
Last week it took me roughly 15 minutes to drive home, and I parked in front of my house at about 10:30. Just as I parked, my neighbor’s daughter was leaving to go back to her own house. The daughter is about 50 and her mom is about 75 and lives with her special needs brother across the street from me. They are relatively new to the block, only moving in 2 years ago, and buying the house after an elderly couple had passed away. I knew they were Hispanic, specifically from Guatemala and had immigrated here in the early 70’s. She had asked me why I was getting home from school so late and I explained to her that it’s the usual meeting times for GLOBE and since we only meet once a week it is 3 hours long. She then asked me some follow up questions, including where our borrowers are from, and when I told her we have given loans to people in Guatemala, her face lit up. She then proceeded to tell me that her and her mother went back to visit family there last month and told me of the terrible conditions of the village they are from. I cannot remember the specific region, but what she described was unbelievable. She said their houses don’t have floors, there’s just dirt, and they don’t have running or hot water, so they must go collect the water in large pots that they plan on using. The conditions were so unsanitary that she, who is a doctor here in the US, ended up getting some type of bacterial infection in her stomach and was sick for the last week of their trip. There is virtually no access to proper health care there, so she just had to deal with it. She was so excited to hear that we are doing our best to help alleviate poverty there because she has seen firsthand how bad the poverty is in some areas. Of course, I have heard about these terrible conditions before, but to hear it from someone you know personally who has experienced it just hit me different and really opened my eyes to the good that our loans are supposed to do. I hope next semester my schedule is more open so I can apply to be a GLOBE fellow so I can see the actual conditions of our borrowers and the good that our loans are doing.
By: Lauren Horan
This past week has been one of progress for GLOBE, but more importantly of reflection. In terms of progress, my team and I met with Dr. Sama on Monday to discuss and finalize our objectives. Now that our deadlines have been determined and we have decided exactly what we plan to do this semester, I feel very confident about moving forward. Our group has been organized and productive. We are all on the same page about wanting to make this program as efficient and impactful as possible. We hope to set the groundwork for future Enterprise Development teams to evaluate impact and perform accurate audits with correct information.
In terms of reflection, I have been pondering the overarching issues that our borrowers and other impoverished people face. Along with GLOBE, I am also involved in the Fair-Trade Association here at St. John’s, which advocates for conscious consumerism. This is the concept that people should buy from ethical companies that ensure their value chain is free of unsafe working conditions, slave/child labor, and practices that degrade the environment. This past Monday, my former professor invited me to speak about my experience with Fair Trade and inform the students about how they can become active in the movement. In the presentation, Professor Murray touched on some familiar topics, such as the garment factory that collapsed in Bangladesh, child slave labor in the cocoa industry, and coffee farmers that get paid far less than a livable wage.
Not only are all these atrocities closely connected to what we do in GLOBE, but they reminded me of why I am passionate about helping people. Fair Trade and GLOBE both deal with positive social change in the business world, using business models, and I think that is how we are going to change the world.
By: Anthony Williams
Upon reflecting on the last week, I realized that the little things are important to the overall mission of Globe. This week I took up the task of packing the care packages for our midterm package fundraiser. While I do not mind doing a little bit of monotonous work that is more doing than thinking, I was wondering if I was really contributing much to Globe, to its mission, and was wishing I could do more and try to do more of the high-level planning stuff. I was even considering if maybe I should have been on a different committee because I was not sure I was making an impact on our borrowers. It was kind of discouraging thinking that I was packing gift bags and some people are doing the “major work” (at least in my mind at the time) of approving loans or by coming up with business development materials. I was talking about this with a friend of mine and she put it into an interesting perspective. She first asked what the bags are for and I said they were for a fundraiser to raise awareness and funds for GLOBE. She then asked about what the funds do, to which I replied: “most of what we raise go to borrowers”. She then asked with a smirk, “well if you did not make the bags then what would you sell to make money?” While appreciating her insight and the circular way she went about it, I realized that small acts lead to big acts that lead to big impacts. Without someone “making the bags” or building fundraisers like our committee does, we would not be able to lend to our borrowers, and then we would not be able to impact their lives. Small leads to big and that is what I learned this week.
Technology and Communications Team
By: Kassandra Alfaro
This week in GLOBE we didn’t have as many events as last week but in class my team and I began to strategize different ways to stay on top of our objectives and make sure we don’t fall behind. We also got to listen to a guest speaker who is a student just like us but also a Change Management Coordinator for a program called S.E.E.D. Moreover, this week was a little challenging for us because we all had a large workload in our other classes. We fell a little behind on our weekly goals for each of our platforms but this week we are coming back stronger than ever and brainstorming new ideas for content!
Once our objectives were finalized, my team and I assigned delegated roles for each social media account; we found this would make it easier to actively release content and engage with our followers. My delegated role is Instagram and YouTube (with my partner Faryal) as well as my role as team liaison. I enjoy each of these roles because I feel that it allows my creative side to shine and increases my professional skills. I am currently in the hunt for an app that will allow me to create a posting schedule for now and for this summer to help me stay consistent throughout the semester.
In addition to this week, our class had the opportunity to hear from a guest speaker. Her name was Asantie Murrell and her objective for this presentation was to inform us about the program S.E.E.D. This program is aimed towards implementing corporate social responsibility and providing tools for growth. In addition to explaining S.E.E.D and its objectives, Asantie also told her story about how she obtained her role as Change Management Coordinator and what she does in a day to day basis. She talked about her research in Barbados and how becoming an intern for S.E.E.D improved her professional and personal skills. I thought it was interesting to hear her background and how she started with the organization, to now obtaining such an important role and sharing her passion for this program.
A quote Asantie mentioned in her presentation was “Small act, Big impact”. When she said this I automatically thought of the video that Dr. Sama showed us in class with the solar power technology in Kenya and the impact it made to its communities. This is evidence that sometimes the smallest improvements can make such a great impact on the lives of others. Thus, being a part of an organization like GLOBE that focuses on impacting the world makes me feel good about being a GLOBE manager.
By: Cara Yesko
The loan recommendations are nearly complete, and the experience of creating them has been an enriching one. Each member of the Finance & Risk Assessment Team completed one loan recommendation and contributed to the recommendations of two, including one historic loan from a group of organic farmers in Vietnam. Among the eight loans in total, there was quite a variety of impact. One was used to purchase livestock, a couple to purchase motorbikes for transportation, and others to expand a café business, repair a home, and more. To me, the loan recommendation process provided a sense of familiarity with the borrowers to a new degree. As I reviewed their requested loan amounts in comparison to their personal incomes, family incomes, etc. I began to better understand through the limited information given, the unique stories of our borrowers in greater detail. Being a manager in a microfinance institution such as GLOBE gives me the ability to review applications and create suggested payback periods, with the best interest of the borrower in mind, rather than institution profits. It is an incredible opportunity.
Having completed our first objective (besides some final edits), it is time to shift our focus towards the others on our list. With the spare time we had in class last week, my fellow Finance & Risk managers and I outlined flaws in the loan applications we have become so familiar with. We are hoping to focus our energy on creating an improved loan application template which could provide us with better answers from potential borrowers, and greater ease during the recommendation process. Moreover, we want to better understand which borrowers have historically repaid, or defaulted, how that varies based on region, loan amount and more.
More recently this week, GLOBE is facing significant changes due to the influx in coronavirus cases in NY, and the university’s response to cancel class, and subsequently, resume it online until month’s end. Though this will mean that we cannot have in-person discussions in the ways we have in weeks prior and that some objectives may need to be altered, I am sure that our class can continue to provide great outcomes this semester.
The rise of the virus also has me considering the potential ramifications to our borrowers. The risk of default of the loans we provide this semester could be much higher, particularly in Vietnam due to the nation’s proximity to China. Moreover, the already unstable economic status of our borrowers in Nicaragua will likely be accentuated as markets remain increasingly volatile in the United States, and globally. I can only hope that governments respond in the best way possible and that a vaccination is soon developed.
By: Aurelie Laborde
The past week, students of St. John’s were on spring break so there were no classes. My team and I tried to stay in communication as much as we could. We were left with an assignment that I personally connected with and that was to read and present Chapter 10 of Muhammed Yunus’ Creating a World Without Poverty. This assignment helped me to reflect on the great issues at hand when discussing our global community.
This particular chapter was about the vulnerabilities that people of the Global South may face in regard to climate change and how might a social business take that into consideration. As I am a Global Development and Sustainability major, this chapter fulfilled my expectations when talking about social businesses that work with people in the Global South. Global warming is one of the biggest threats that people have when living in countries like Panama and Nicaragua. People in developing countries and in tropical areas are more susceptible to dying because of how the earth is reacting to greenhouse gases. One of the questions that Muhammed Yunus poses is: How can we fight the effects of global warming on our own? It is obvious that the efforts and initiatives that are concerning global warming should be a collective effort, however, we are far away from being united as a global community. He also points out that in order to understand how we solve this crisis we have to understand the economic and sociopolitical structures that enhance greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. One of the big ideations of that is capitalism. In the world of privatized businesses and structures, the more money that is being generated can almost be correlated to the amount of greenhouse gases is being released one of the reasons why is because of factories and developing items to sell in the market. The Global South will face the harshest effects of climate change even though they were the least contributors to greenhouse gases emitted by factories that are run and supervised by dominating countries in the Global North.
As a GLOBE manager and as a student heavily invested in the Sustainable Development Goals, I want to figure out how can we implement a framework that will allow people to obtain economic equality without causing more harm to the environment they are living in.
By: Lauryn Simon
After returning from spring break I was excited to be back in the classroom, especially GLOBE. I do believe that this course is one of my favorites this semester. Due to the unlikely circumstances, we do not have the pleasure to meet face to face for the next couple of weeks. Frustrating, but completely understanding, I am content with the decisions and actions the university is taking.
The recent outbreak has caused me to start thinking about those we support and conduct this organization for. As of now, there are no known cases of the Coronavirus in Latin America or on the African continent in which we work mostly. I tend to think of most of our Filipino borrowers. Because of their Asian descent, I can only imagine the stereotypes that are placed on our borrowers. Have their businesses been affected? Are our borrowers and their families safe? And their surrounding villages?
What I truly adore about GLOBE is that if there is an instance where our borrowers fall into some type of difficulty, we are truly forgiving, the understanding of all issues. The main concern is to acquire safety and trust with the ones who we do business with. To also go beyond a business to business relationship and make it a peaceful spot. That is why the Daughters of Charity are a key component of the mission. Having the daughters on site to continuously care for them and provide for their emotional needs is necessary and a considerate gesture.
I am excited to learn more about what are the exact attributes GLOBE gives the borrowers. In the next coming week, I plan to discover more about each individual and their hopes for their family. Doing so will give me an emotional boost to strive throughout the semester.
This log may be the most difficult log to write so far. This would have been our first day back in class since Spring Break. Last class, we dove deeper into our borrowers and learned a bit about why they need a loan and what they would use their loans for. I was fascinated by the courage, inspiration, and passion put into the businesses or vehicles needed for their business to grow. Each borrower really thought about what is truly necessary for their business to flourish. With that being said, I was really excited to create and present our presentation showcasing other women who advocate for their businesses. The chapter we read really focused on women entrepreneurs and what they bring into this world.
I speak in the past tense because unfortunately due to the Coronavirus, they stopped all in-person class meetings and have reverted to online teaching for the next two weeks. I personally don’t like this method especially regarding a class such as GLOBE because the hands-on experience we get in class will be taken away for a while. The safety of everyone is very important though so I do believe that St. Johns made the right decision in closing campus to monitor the situation.
I am currently a manager on the IT team, and my biggest worry is meeting our objectives as a team for our first audit. Many of the videos and Tik-Toks that we intended to make all revolved around our class time, students and Dr. Sama. These videos may not be made on time and/or before our deadlines since we will lack the in-person meeting times. An alternative would be for everyone to meet outside of class but with our GLOBE managers scattered across the boroughs and Long Island it may be a little tough. Alongside that, the only thing we believe we can do is keep our platforms alive and spread the word regarding GLOBE and its mission along as well.
I hope that this virus will be contained or resolved soon, but until then our team will try and make accommodations to meet our objectives in the best way we can as well as communicate with the other teams a lot more. I feel that communication is key during times like these. The biggest upside to this situation is that the virus forced our class to communicate in our group chat over the safety of others, our class and what we need to do together to move forward. Out of all this chaos, we formed our GLOBE family.
By: Asiah Raja
We have received feedback on our loan recommendations and as a team, we are collectively working on reviewing the loans for the final submission. As we discuss loan recommendations and sympathize with our borrowers during this difficult crisis that the world is facing, I'm reminded of the current situation of the uninsured. There are many individuals who are either directly or indirectly facing hardships because of the COVID-19. Among the many who want to get tested, fear the consequences of medical bills due to a lack of insurance.
For the past few months, I have been working on a campaign along with a nonprofit organization in which we raise money to provide free health clinics. The month-long campaign is called Hearts4Humanity and it is run strictly by the youth. The nonprofit which we work alongside is called MAS, Muslim American Society. MAS holds over 40 chapters nationwide. This year we are collaborating with Mercy Without Limits (MWL) and are aiming to help fund & raise awareness for the lack of free health clinics around the United States. Healthcare is still an issue for 27 million Americans and with the help of everyone we can close the gap. Fundraising is encouraged through different MAS chapters competing against one another to raise the most money. Usually, we hold events in each chapter and raise funds through in-person and online donations. But, because of the recent pandemic, the entire campaign has gone virtual. This includes donations, art auctions, and much more. This week my focus has been to increase marketing so that everyone knows how to lend a hand. My team has collaborated with health clinics in every chapter nationwide and all donations will be made directly to them.
To my surprise, we have received an unconditional amount of love through donations, even though it was $5 through Venmo to go towards the campaign. I know we are witnessing an extreme dilemma but to see so many individuals nationwide come together and stand for healthcare makes my heart smile. The distance between us and our loved ones is cut due to social distancing but the connection of taking a stand and believing has always existed and it is shown through the donations we have received. If an individual in this country can’t afford basic healthcare, it's our duty to stand for them, to give them their rights. Especially during this situation we are facing, healthcare is more important than ever. Nobody should have to worry about medical bills let alone their own sanity and wellbeing in this crisis.
Have a heart, help with Healthcare!
This week has been a perfect example of how quickly your plans for the future can be immediately turned upside-down. We recently received notification from the St. John’s administration that classes will be online for the rest of the semester. Personally, I find this challenging as I have always studied and completed coursework on campus. Whether it was in the library or in a classroom, I always had a quiet space to focus on my work. The situation at hand has now forced me to adapt to work and study at home, while also maintaining effective communication with my teams. It almost seems surreal how quickly the situation has evolved, and I feel blindsided. I feel that this is experience is an important life lesson and something I will hold with me for a long time.
I have thought about how an experience like this may be common for people around the world. The past couple of weeks have been full of uncertainty and fear. Somedays, I felt paralyzed by the constant updates on my phone, email, and television. It has affected my academics and mental health. I can only imagine how much worse this would have been if I relied on the performance of my business to provide for myself and my family. There are still families across the world who live in constant uncertainty and fear because of war, disease, or politics. For me, this may be a “black swan” event, but for many, it is just the life they were born into.
Dr. Sama’s emails have been motivational and inspirational. In one email, she reminded the class that the borrowers rely on us completing our objectives and assignments. Despite all of this uncertainty, that fact remains true. Right now, I can do my part to make a difference in the lives of others through my work in GLOBE. Epictetus once said, “Make the best of what is in your power and take the rest as it happens.” I am confident that the class and my team will overcome this challenge and adapt to the new situation to achieve our goals.
The Corona Virus is in full swing. My cousins in Italy are on lockdown and honestly, I see the USA entering full lockdown in the near future. This will be a very difficult month ahead as day by day the virus will affect our daily lives more and more. Just as I am writing my log, It has been said on the news that restaurants and bars are closing down, offering take out services only. Movie theaters are closed. Public Schools are closed. We are all forced to change our habits in hopes to avoid contracting the virus. This has greatly impacted the way we are learning here at St. John’s University. As classes have shifted to online-only, my workload has doubled, if not tripled. I have to deal with worrying about my health and the health of my family, most especially my grandparents all while juggling my assignments, test, and term projects. It's an overwhelming time for me and I am sure many of my peers. Online classes are difficult enough, having to take 6 advanced courses online is going to be very difficult for me. However, being organized has helped me tremendously during this shift.
This week’s chapter on “Social Entrepreneurship,” began with a quote from George Bernard. It talks about how a reasonable man is one who adapts himself to the world, not one who tries to adapt the world to himself. I think this quote is super relevant currently around the world in dealing with the Corona Virus. Even in tough times whether that be fighting a virus or a business venture, we will be faced with situations in which we find ourselves almost unprepared as we are met with unexpected changes. It is easy to just give up and accept defeat. Yet, there are nurses, doctors, scientists, and many others who are risking their lives for progress. They choose not to adapt and leave everyone for the worse. They will not rest until there is a vaccine to help prevent the virus. They are the leaders. They are the unreasonable ones who rise above the rest. We should strive for the better even in times of difficulty. Our GLOBE borrowers are the “unreasonable” ones who don’t see defeat in poverty but rather seek progress adapting the world to themselves. These men and women are encouraging. In my time of uncertainty, they drive me to continue staying organized, ensuring I finish the semester strong so that way they can be successful as a result of the GLOBE loans.
By: Johnny Wiley
As with the world, my mind has been on the COVID-19 epidemic. While I was aware of the severity of COVID-19 which was shown through the University canceling in-person classes until March 27th, I was not expecting it to be labeled a global health pandemic by the World Health Organization. I woke up this morning and heard on my New York Times Podcast that Secretary Mnuchin and Congressional Republicans were considering roughly one trillion-dollar bailout to assist both everyday Americans and the industries that were impacted by COVID-19. In addition to this, I have been interested in how the public sector will be collaborating with the private sector to combat COVID-19. I say this to state that while I am thinking about the world and how this virus has impacted me personally, I am simultaneously focused on how COVID-19 will impact the seven countries where GLOBE operates and GLOBE itself.
How will we work with the Daughters of Charity in the field and what will happen to the business that our borrowers operate? How will the communities in which these entrepreneurs work function since many of them play pivotal roles and are leaders in their communities? While these thoughts ran through my mind, I am still thinking about them as I write this, I recognize that the only thing that I can do to ensure that mission of GLOBE comes to fruition this term is to work with my team and fellow GLOBE managers to ensure that the objectives that we can still complete or completed.
The IT Team has struggled with constantly completing our objectives. We recognize both our shortcomings and the fact that we must make some changes. However, with the rapid advancement of the COVID-19 epidemic, I believe that we should work harder than ever because our borrowers are dependent on us now more than ever. Our work helps people build businesses, which in turn help build healthy communities. While it will definitely be a challenge, I truly believe that I along with the rest of the IT Team are up for it.
By: Carter McClean
The Finance and Risk team has been taking care to keep communication lines open as the University has transitioned to a fully online learning environment. This has been vital to getting our work done in a quality manner. The Finance and Risk team also got some good news this week, with a strong show of support from the Steering Committee. The majority of the members have voted and it appears that the loan recommendations will all be approved. This news, while still conditional, was a much-needed morale boost in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. Additionally, the Finance and Risk team has received two more loan applications, which we are looking to work on with haste so that they too may be approved quickly.
The content covered in class for this week talks about different risks that have the potential to affect MFIs. It covers risks both internally and externally, and the different ways that \this impacts borrowers and institutions. This topic is particularly relevant currently, as we are facing a global pandemic that is sure to affect MFIs and their borrowers across the board. This will affect the entirety of microfinance in both developed and developing nations. The impact and implications of this pandemic are two-fold. First and foremost borrower health is greatly at risk. This is especially true in developing nations where there is a lack of infrastructure to help mitigate the effects of the virus. The second risk is the economic prospects of our borrowers. If the work there doing is impacted by a quarantine, which for every borrower GLOBE has had with possibly the exception of farmers, this would be the case, it would make paying loans back incredibly difficult. I think these types of risks are hard to anticipate when deciding to borrow because they are macro shocks to the economy. That being said it may be worth looking into a way to account for such risks in future Risk Assessment Models for future GLOBE borrowers.
This has been the first full week of “social distancing” and “self-isolation” efforts, due to COVID-19. As students and teachers continue to adjust to online classes, and we all try to adjust to this new lifestyle in solitary, the dynamics of society are changing. It is fascinating to observe. I suppose some people choose to respond to this crisis with hysteria and even anger. Some lash out at employees and other people they encounter during this time because they may be scared or they may be paranoid, but those who have chosen to be calm, logical, and kind will help us all get through. I am trying to be one of those people.
Although it has been hard to stay inside and refrain from social gatherings with friends, this virus has forced us to consider our values as citizens of this country, as well as citizens of the world. This week’s reading for GLOBE was quite content-heavy. The Joanna Ledgerwood chapters discuss financial management and social performance, as well as governance. These topics will all be beneficial to progressing our objectives for the program, but they also relate to our current circumstances. In discussing financial risk, the author asserts that different types of risks are interrelated. For example, if there is a liquidity risk present, borrowers may worry about their demands being satisfied, which in turn creates credit risk. The analogy I am making is not exactly parallel, but there are significant connections. At this point, I am sure we have all heard of “flattening the curve,” i.e. the exponential curve representing the spread of COVID-19 with no efforts toward mitigation. The possibility of spreading the virus is dependent on the actions of every individual. Each person’s level of risk is reliant upon themselves, as well as every person that has interacted with them. Ignoring the precautions that have been set by the government and the medical community affects everyone else’s level of risk. I found this an interesting comparison to make. Just as microfinance professionals must consider the interconnectedness of several risk factors, humans must be responsible and take simple steps to consider their behavior, which may be putting others at risk.
The chapters also outline topics like social performance and governance in terms of how these relate to microfinance. In this sector, social performance refers to the efficacy of an institution’s mission as it relates to socially accepted goals. This idea could not be more relevant to a discussion of COVID-19. The talking heads to which we listen so intently want to minimize the damage caused by this pandemic and protect people. However, their policies are only as effective as those who adhere to them. Monitoring the results of these alerts and advisories is essential to evaluating future decisions. In addition, the book defines governance as “the system of people and processes that defines and upholds the organization’s goals and mission, guides major strategic decisions, manages risks, and ensures accountability” (Ledgerwood 351). Of equal importance to social performance, the strength of governance in upholding goals, guiding decisions, managing risk (especially), and ensuring accountability, is imperative to handling the situation with which our world is currently faced.
I was feeling discouraged that most, if not all plans are, for a lack of a better word, ruined. This feeling was surmounting as I completed the obstacles portion of the Marketing & Fundraising team’s Midterm Report. However, as I contemplated it, I thought about the times I play games with my nine-year-old brother. In our favorite game of monopoly, when faced with a challenge, perhaps an unfortunate card choice or bad real estate deal, we embrace these challenges to persevere. What makes this situation different? While this semester is shaping up to be unorthodox, it does not mean that all hope is lost for GLOBE or it’s borrowers.
As I get homesick for GLOBE, I find myself reading and listening to podcasts, interviews, and videos about the world of microfinance. Yesterday I listened to the Ted x Talk, “Three Ways to Be a More Effective Fundraiser.” The 18-minute presentation was conducted by Kara Logan Berlin, a professional in the world of raising funds for individuals with ideas that could change the world and non-profits. It made me reflect on my experience with non-profits and my time in GLOBE. During my presentations throughout the semester, I tend to bring the idea of the finance world back to being deeply corrupted and self-serving, then juxtapose it with the actual good that is done by the same community. Seeing this woman be able to make it a career by securing financial funding for projects that will positively impact society was truly uplifting and gave me the inspiration to work toward innovative solutions to our very real problems.
By: Andrew Sapia
After another long week of dealing with this pandemic, Dr. Sama organized an online lecture for us to all take part in. This was actually a great experience because it enabled us all to be active with all of our class members again. We were all able to contribute to the conversation at hand, and overall it felt like a normal class regardless of it being online. With this being said, I realize how important it is to actually be able to still hold these meetings over the internet via a web call. Since non-essential jobs are being told to work from home, I’ve seen my sister still be able to attend meetings daily and get her work done because of the accessibility of these web calls. It is better to get adjusted to being able to do these because we don’t know what the future holds and how crucial these calls will be in our lives.
Next week, we have a guest speaker coming to join us on our web call and I am really looking forward to it. This was planned for us before any of these unfortunate events occurred so it is nice to hear that our guest speaker is still willing to take the time out of their day to meet with us and talk to us. This is another great example of how great web calls are important and simplistic. People can be on the whole other side of the world can still be in contact with everyone they need. Some more great news was that next semester GLOBE class will still be able to be accepted this semester. Although in-person interviews won’t be able to be conducted, Dr. Sama will conduct them via a web call. This is great because now GLOBE will be able to be fully reloaded for next semester. With all this being said, adjustments are still being made but things are coming together and falling into place once again.
The week’s guest lecturer, Ed Klimek, joined us on Webex to share his experiences in instituting microfinance initiatives within Guatemala. Ed is a member of the Queenship of Mary parish in NJ which works alongside Catholic Relief Services to provide support and solidarity to their partner parish in the diocese of Santa Cruz. Over the past ten years, the two dioceses have worked together through delegations, Habitat for Humanity builds and does more to build the foundations and community in which microfinance could be instituted. Ed’s presentation offered yet another fantastic example of the power of microfinance and the dedication of those who make it possible. With over ten rounds of loans completed and the eleventh on its way, the impact of the Queenship of Mary and Santa Cruz parishes was quite visible. Specifically, the touching story of a man named Santiago Sanchez spoke to the ability of a borrower to build a new home after receiving support and executing an acute entrepreneurial spirit in his profession of coffee farming and later, pig farming. Ed’s shared insights into overcoming challenges within the community due to the lack of diversification of coffee plants and the subsequent collaboration in farming initiatives were truly inspiring. So was learning about the method of group savings, “cuchubal” that borrowers utilize and the female empowerment that has been fostered over the course of the past decade as a result of the loans.
Throughout the lecture, I could not help but draw a number of parallels to GLOBE. Aside from the fact that we operate in the same country (Guatemala), and the Central America region (among others), I found that many of the perceived needs of our borrowers also overlapped. Ed shared that many of the Guatemalan borrowers in the Santa Cruz parish were looking for agricultural loans. In a unique, successful circumstance, the borrower was looking to receive funding to purchase a case for her makeup supplies. Just this semester, GLOBE received an application from a borrower who sought funds to buy a carrying case for her nail technician supplies. Another similar theme was, of course, the ties to Catholicism within a community at the core of making the loans possible. The work we do at GLOBE could not be done without the unrivaled efforts of the Daughters of Charity.
However, there were other aspects of what Ed shared that made me aware of potential areas of growth for GLOBE. Having traveled to Santa Cruz many times himself, Ed has a deep connection with the various members of the community, borrowers or otherwise, and is vividly aware of environmental and social factors that must be taken into consideration when issuing new loans or helping to plan future growth of the community. Moreover, the parish has keenly used technology to hold virtual meetings over Facebook Live in which further connection and collaboration is established. The ties between the two parishes are rooted in a deep understanding. As managers of GLOBE, the connection that we have with our borrowers sometimes hardly exceeds the review and recommendation of their application. We are connected in our mutual cause, in our willingness to it, but we seldom meet the borrowers unless we are lucky enough to travel to the field with Dr. Sama at the spring semester’s end. Hearing from Ed made me conscious of the fact that a deeper connection with our borrowers is possible, if we take the initiative to explore the ways the Facebook and email can be used as platforms, and if we follow our borrowers even after the repayment of their loans. Their success is part of our success, after all.
By: Nathan Greene
This week has reminded me that working in a group has its advantages and disadvantages. When we are collectively responsible for our work, so we have to trust our teammates to do what we expect of them. While it is not always easy, having patience with your team will always pay off. It is better to work with a helping hand than a firm one. Having teammates whose strengths cover your weaknesses allows the group to thrive in the long term. And having teammates to help you when you need it benefits the group as a whole.
During my Comparative Economic Systems class, my professor discussed how post-soviet countries transformed into what we see today. These formerly-socialist countries now have market-based economies and give the world an example of how modern economies can be efficiently run. But in order to understand how these formerly socialist states transformed into what they are today, we have to understand their socialist roots. Each nation was markedly different from the other. Some governments had complete control of every facet of production. Others used centralized power to guide the economy towards social goals, without being too authoritarian. In any case, these countries were once written off by the global community as being puppets to the USSR and are now some of the best examples of prospering democracies. Some of the best innovations have come from these very countries. This reminds me of how we are a part of these county’s development. We are part of the initial stages of innovation which will bring these countries prosperity in the future. Our work is not for nothing and will change financial inclusion. While we may not know it, we are helping spread change throughout the world.
By: Jennifer Portillo
This week’s lecture for GLOBE was based on the topic of micro-insurance and micro-savings. This is a topic I have been reading a lot about lately because I think it is the second most important step to follow after establishing a sustainable micro-lending program. A lot of the places in which GLOBE operates are located in regions that are at high risk of political, economic, and environmental contingencies. For example, Nicaragua is a country known for the high number of volcanoes within its borders, many of these volcanoes have erupted in the past and destroyed everything around them. People’s homes, lands, and businesses are destroyed by something that is outside of their control. They can try to prepare for any external accidents but how can anyone ever prepare or even know when a volcano is going to erupt? It is simply not possible.
Other contingencies include the presence of gangs predominantly in Guatemala that threaten and intimidate small business owners and rob them when they do not abide by the gang’s rules. It is very difficult to grow or even think of starting a business in an area where you are going to be scared for your life if the word goes around that your business may be doing well. While both of the examples I just mentioned are very extreme, they are both real examples of struggles that our borrowers have to endure. This is where the concept of micro-insurance and micro-savings come into place. Both of these financial services are able to provide a sense of security for borrowers. They provide contingency plans in time of uncertainty, and in the long-run they allow borrowers to take more risks and become financially independent from the organizations they borrow money from. I wonder if at some point in the future GLOBE could offer some sort of micro-insurance or micro-savings program in addition to providing loans to borrowers. While this would be very far into the future, I would love to see how a small organization like ours becomes more involved in providing services that before it was believed that only formal financial organizations could provide.
By: Johnny Wiley
As my time as a GLOBE manager comes to a close, and as Women’s History Month ends, for this log, I think that it would be beneficial if I discussed a topic which I never really discussed in any of my previous logs - the role that women play in microfinance. As the entire class knows from both the in-class lectures and the in-class presenters, women play a huge and a major factor in how microfinance institutions operate. Within the context of GLOBE, most of GLOBE's borrowers are women. This is a phenomenon that extends across the world to other women. This has resulted in a wide array of benefits for the communities and families of these women entrepreneurs.
As per our class lectures, we know that credit extended to women is shown to have significant impacts on a families’ quality of life, especially children. Moreover, microfinance provides economic empowerment to women living in poverty. Lastly, it produces a sense of social empowerment to women in various areas in the developing regions of the world. I have always found this phenomenon so interesting because from my research, I have usually thought of most financial institutions as being regressive, not embracing change. Interestingly, many microfinance institutions acknowledge that certain social ills need to be addressed and are out there actively trying to assist people in creating their business while simultaneously advocating for a more just society.
Concerning the class lecture for this week, I found both the concepts of microinsurance and micro-savings. Concerning microinsurance, I think that is both relevant and necessary. From watching the video, the fact that life happens to everyone and there needs to be a safety net is a completely valid point. I would love to examine how microinsurance and the services offered by these institutions compare to social programs provided by the government (if such programs are offered). Concerning micro-savings, I would be interested in learning if there was a way in which the government or the governing authorities guarantee these savings, like the FDIC, does in the United States.
Last week, we had a guest speaker, Ed Klimek for our WebEx session. It was a nice change of pace and as I predicted brought back a sense of normalcy since we would usually have guest speakers in class. Hearing about his experiences with microloans in the form of solidarity lending was quite interesting. It reminded me of Muhammed Yunus’ experience with starting Grameen bank and how the community grabbed onto it. Hearing him speak about his travels and visiting the people he was helping definitely influenced my decision in deciding to apply for the GLOBE fellows program next semester. I think it would be a very unique and fulfilling experience to get to visit people that we are directly helping and be able to document it. It feels like one of those once in a lifetime chances I don’t want to miss out on. This semester in GLOBE has shown me how much I enjoy hands-on learning with things that have real-world applications, and I recently found out I was accepted into EIRP, so I am very excited to able to continue this type of hands-on learning all throughout next year, possibly even with Dr. Sama.
This upcoming week we have a presentation on one of our articles that we chose. We chose to use Drew’s article, about travel agencies and how they are choosing to invest and donate to MFI’s rather than traditional donations. Agencies are finding their money is going to better and more widespread uses, and they can often see the good that comes about from the money. It opened my eyes and makes me wonder what companies I am supporting that are making donations to other MFI’s that I am just unaware of. From now on, especially when I travel, I will research the companies I am traveling with and any donations they make.
We had to make some corrections to the two new loan applications we received, and it’s definitely a different experience than when we were meeting in class. In the beginning of the semester, the previous GLOBE managers had told us to make sure that we are managing our time appropriately because as the semester goes on, we will have less and less time to get all our work done. I am slowly starting to see that happen, and even within this past week we have been communicating at different hours and sometimes hours after one another, but we are getting the work done. It also doesn’t help that we are in 3 different time zones, but I specifically can feel my workload getting heavier and am finding myself squeezing in assignments last minute or working until 5 AM. I did not have the best time management skills to begin with, and this shift to strictly online learning has not been any help, but I will continue to do everything I can to make my deadlines for assignments.
The assigned reading for this week was from The Economics of Microfinance: Chapter 4 & 5. Chapter 4 is a Group Lending. When I think of group lending I think bad and reflect on the of the cultural terms that I grew up hearing. There is such a thing as group lending in African, Caribbean, and Latin cultures. I am familiar with the customs in Haiti. I remember grouping up hearing about kòb sol. It was always the grownups talking about it when I was younger, so I wanted to know what kind of money this was and how come I never received any. I ended up asking the women who I look up to in my family and was able to get a clear understanding of what it was. I was introduced to money management and the idea of credit at the age of 10. “Sol” (in Haitian Creole) or “Sou-Sou”/ “Su Su”(in English). A Sol is an informal rotating loan group, where a group of people get together and contribute an equal amount of money into a fund. This can be done weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. The total of money is called the hand -- “min” in Haitian Creole. The total amount of money is then paid to one member of the club on a previously agreed-on schedule. The pool rotates until all members have received their share. This form of group lending is still used today. Some groups use it to start businesses, large purchases, and down payments on assets. Group lending is a practice that has been a form of assistance for many women in rural areas who didn’t have the means to bank traditionally. Group lending has been around for hundreds of years and it would be great if GLOBE can mimic this cultural tradition an implement it into our framework.
There is no doubt that there have been multiple setbacks in both our academic and home lives. To present a recent setback regarding GLOBE, my team, marketing and fundraising, has been having trouble when it comes to the ideal way on how to handle our team’s goals. Many texts, emails, phone calls, and Webex meetings later, there is no clear solution. Through the hardships, this team has been trooping endlessly to make the impact that we were assigned to do. As a marketing and fundraising team, our resource does come from sales. Within those sales, we educate others about GLOBE and what the organization embodies. While times are confusing and frankly goes beyond belief, my team has found that positivity is potent at this time. Taking a route of optimism will spread a glimpse of joy around rather than asking for donations. Knowing that more than half of our donations go to our borrowers, we are saddened that our original goals of fundraising could not be carried out. I believe that this brainstormed idea will create a platform, if not bigger, just like fundraising would. Within the next coming weeks, the marketing and fundraising team plans to bring awareness to GLOBE like no other. With the help of our prominent professor, graduate assistant, and steering committee member, this team with seek to engage and interact with individuals and establish a space that truly shows our passion behind GLOBE. Awareness lead marketing is just as powerful as promotions for funds. This will show that there has been no lack of effort, it could show individuals how benevolent we are in these uncertain times. GLOBE wants to extend our care to those who are suffering and invite them into a time where they can take their mind off the hysteria, even just for a minute. I am thrilled to see how this experience will pan out for the organization as a whole.
This week my team and I prepared a presentation based on an article related to microfinance and solar power energy. This is a form of a “social business” which Muhammad Yunus defines as “created and designed to address a social problem”. In this article, they talk about the installments of solar panels in Bangladesh, a country that is a growing market for both Solar power energy and microfinance.
The use of solar panels for energy has improved the lives of many people living in Bangladesh, where they once depended on Kerosene lamps as a source of energy. Not only are Kerosene lamps bad for the environment, but it is also very expensive for people living in developing countries. With the use of solar energy, families can successfully start a business, help their children with schoolwork, and charge any electronics they may need. It is incredible that something as essential as electricity we sometimes take for granted. We use electricity each day of our lives and it benefits us in many ways; to communicate, gain an education, and stay connected but yet, we often forget about the convenience it has in our lives. The only time I can remember not having heat and electricity for an extended period of time, was during Hurricane Sandy, one of the deadliest and most destructive hurricanes. At this time, my family and I struggled not having these essentials because it was also wintertime. However, although it was very difficult, to say the least, I do remember my community coming together and helping one another. This made it easier to cope with the inconvenience the hurricane had on our lives and also brought me closer to my neighbors. I believe sometimes the smallest gestures can impact the lives of others and I can’t wait to impact our borrowers' lives by helping to provide them with microloans and contribute to GLOBE’s mission.
Tonight, GLOBE managers, Dr. Sama and guest speaker Evan Dittig met via Webex for another virtual lecture. For the first part of our lecture Evan shared his personal experiences in GLOBE and how they started his journey in creating his company, Shred Co. The idea took root after Evan participated in the 2017 GLOBE Fellows program and decided to bring a few skateboards along with him to share with the local community and GLOBE borrowers he would meet. This would be the first of many international trips that Evan and others at Shred Co. would embark upon. Soon after, they would go to Cuba and Johannesburg Africa to join internationally renowned non-profit Skateistan for the Global Summit for Social Skateboarding.
Though starting a non-profit business as a post-grad wasn’t easy, Evan shared his dedication for pursuing his passion for skateboarding. What stood out to me most about his journey and the values of his business, was the importance that he placed on social impact. Shred Co exists to give back – whether it be through the DHL packages full of skateboards that are sent to countries throughout the world, or the courses Evan organizes for people within his community that are transitioning out of addiction, live with disabilities, or experiencing poverty. He wants it to be known that anyone can skate if they are determined to. Evan has truly taken his experiences in marketing as the GLOBE Marketing Team Liason outside of the classroom.
Hearing from yet another past GLOBE manager who has gone on to accomplish admirable endeavors proved to be inspiring and reaffirmed my appreciation for this course. The values that we learn throughout the course of the semester – of entrepreneurship, fundraising, innovation, and passion will certainly stick.
You would think the primary explanation for a borrower failing to repay a loan would be financial insecurity or irresponsibility. But in fact, it is due to personal and public health complications. This week, I began researching the common issues that may be affecting our borrowers and began the development of the Enterprise and Development team’s proposed “Healthcare Resource” for borrowers. Our team's aim is to provide simple, yet effective, resources to our borrowers that can be referenced for their safety and financial stability. What has been interesting to see, and difficult to handle, is the variety of healthcare issues that affect our borrowers. GLOBE currently serves seven countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Guatemala. Not only each country, but each community, household, and individual will face different healthcare challenges. We are then challenged to develop a comprehensive guide that will cover the most common and preventable diseases for the majority of our borrowers. As one of the first healthcare guides, this may prove to become a foundation for future projects of the Enterprise and Development team. I hope that future healthcare-based professional continues to join GLOBE and create more specific guides for each country. With high hopes and ambitions, I even dream of there being an entirely dedicated healthcare team in GLOBE that can consult each individual borrower.
Dreams aside, I proceeded to compile the CDC’s data on Top 10 Causes of Death in the GLOBE countries of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Vietnam, Philippines, and Guatemala. It was interesting and surprising to see the most frequent cause of death disease category was cardiovascular. This aligns perfectly with the CDC’s estimate that the leading cause of death around the world to be cardiovascular disease. For some reason, I had expected it to be a “third-world country” preventable disease, such as diarrhea or malaria. This macrodata proves that we are all much similar than different; humans face the same health issues around the world. While we still are thinking of creating continent specific guides, such as guides for South/Central America vs Africa, we also need to see if the macrodata matches the issues of our borrowers.
When I went to my first GLOBE informational, I was expecting to be participating in more “business” oriented tasks. I am glad that I am one of the first healthcare majors in GLOBE and feel privileged to be laying the foundation for future healthcare-related projects.
It has been quite an exciting week! The Marketing ~ Fundraising team has really been moving and grooving! Last week our team had a meeting with Dr. Sama, the IT Team, as well as with Scott van Deusen, a wonderful member of the Steering Committee and the St. John’s University Office of Advancement.
The morning meeting was a really wonderful experience. Both my team, as well as the Technology team are very grateful to have Dr. Sama and Scott take time out of their busy schedules to speak with us and share their knowledge about fundraising and how we should go about presenting what would initially be our fundraising campaign on GiveCampus. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, we decided it was best to switch our platform to Quadrangle and change the goal of our campaign from a dollar amount to more of a goal to spread the positivity and awareness of GLOBE with the small possibility of financial gain. A component that the Marketing~Fundraising team is looking institute is interacting with our followers and friends online via live videos. These videos would spend some time talking about GLOBE, but the majority of the video would be teaching the public or engaging with them in some capacity. My contribution would be teaching origami at least once or teaching how to make an easy baked good. It would be spectacular to have a few other students contribute some sort of skill or service, whether it be reading a story or, Lauryn Simon spoke about showing our followers how to dye Easter eggs with her grandma.
Something Scott really emphasized was spreading positivity and taking people’s minds off the negativity and the stress of our current reality. To say I am extremely excited about this task if an understatement! Every person has something to share and I cannot wait to see how our GLOBE students will not only help raise awareness to help our wonderful borrowers in foreign countries, but they will also be bringing joy to our friends, family, and neighbors at home!
As my time as a GLOBE Manger comes to a close, I want this log to serve as a reflection on what I've learned during my tenure as a GLOBE Manager. Throughout my time at St. John's University, both my coursework and my extracurricular activities we're multifaceted, yet centered around me gaining the knowledge that is necessary to pursue a career in public service. While I have performed these activities abroad and within my community in the United States, my participation in GLOBE has probably been the most challenging work that I have done and by far the most rewarding work.
As I stated in my first log, I was extremely nervous about working with the IT team. My first choice was the Marketing team, and I thought that I was going to be doing work that I was not going to enjoy. Additionally, I was nervous about my fellow IT team members. Specifically, once I learned what the responsibilities of the IT were over the break, I was unsure if they had the same plans on social media. Nevertheless, after getting to know my team and working together, my anxieties were relieved. Additionally, I learned how to lean on my team. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the team communicated effectively and efficiently to get our team objectives completed. Once the pandemic reached the United States, our classes were suspended and we were ordered to stay home, our communication skills went from being effective and efficient, to superb. Communication is essential in most if not every area of life. The communication skills that I learned as a GLOBE manager will be essential wherever I go in life. In addition to communication skills, learning about poverty in an international context was extremely beneficial to me.
Once I leave St. John's University, it is likely that I will attend the University of Cambridge and pursue an MPhil in Development Studies. While my supervisor has yet to be confirmed, for my proposed dissertation, I will examine how the lack of economic opportunity and mobility in a post-conflict society (within the context of the Lake Chad Basin Region), further exacerbates inter-community tensions and subsequently causes a recurrence of conflict. My time in GLOBE has helped me determine where I want to take my research concerning possible ways to advance economic opportunity. For both my paper for GLOBE and my research, one of the countries that I am focusing on is Nigeria (a country in the Lake Chad Basin Region). Reading about microfinance within the context of this country has been both personally pleasing and helpful.
While I can go on and on, about my time in GLOBE, by far the biggest thing I gained was the sense of family. This semester was a rough one for me. I’ve never worked with such good people trying to help great people change their communities and by doing so break societies chains and glass ceilings
By: Tyge Duffy
Last week we had a guest speaker, Evan Dittig. I was looking forward to his presentation and I wasn’t disappointed. First off, I was impressed and inspired that he took his passion in life and create his business around it. That’s really the dream for everyone, and one of the most known sayings is, “love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” He is the living embodiment of this saying. The next thing I really liked is that the action sports industry tends to have their athletes painted in a negative light, as punks (drugs, partying, illegal activities), and they are often looked down upon when compared to traditional athletes. So, it was pretty cool to see him doing such amazing and heartfelt things for humanity with his action sports company. It’s also incredible to think that just simply helping other people has made it possible for him to travel the world. He isn’t some money-hungry entrepreneur, he has a passion for what he does and wants to spread joy. With this simple goal in mind, he goes to Colorado to help the disabled, went to Cuba to donate skateboards and bring awareness to the skateboarding community there, and also went to a conference in South Africa for companies trying to share and spread skateboarding. Sure, he could have gone to all these places if he was making millions of dollars, but it’s awesome to see him stick to his core values of helping people. These are the same values that made him want to be a part of GLOBE in the first place. To see him stick to his roots and continue what GLOBE helped instill in him helped paint a picture of what I would like to be like a few years down the road.
Our reading for this week was chapter 14 of The Microfinance Handbook. Overall, it really connected back to everything that we do in GLOBE and the social advancements we are trying to help people make. The chapter was about measuring our progress in our goals, and how we do that. It was the easiest reading to date to relate to GLOBE and what we do. It also helped spark some ideas about the future of GLOBE, and different post loan survey questions we could ask which was really helpful.
Overall, these two events of Evan’s presentation and The Microfinance Handbook really wrapped up GLOBE. They made me think about the deeper lesson’s GLOBE has taught me, about truly making an impact on everyone around me for the better, especially the less fortunate. Sure, I’m not an MFI, but through self-reflection, I can still analyze my actions and see if what I am doing is really making the world a better place or not. Seeing Evan take the core value of caring for others, something that is prominent throughout GLOBE, and keep practicing it even after graduation is admirable. I know that GLOBE has had that much of an impact on me as well and that the same core value of caring for others is ingrained in me, especially after this semester.
What a semester it has been. We started off strong and ambitious, ready to learn as much about microfinance as possible and incorporate that new knowledge into our objectives for managing and improving GLOBE. We have all remained dedicated to this mission, but due to unforeseeable circumstances, morale is not as high as it was in January. This pandemic has made me extremely grateful for the time I had in the classroom with my teammates, and appreciative of the little joys of human interaction we so often take for granted. Although I am saddened by the quarantine, I have it easy compared to most. Even two of my teammates, Krist and Kyle, who are both pharmacy majors, are working in hospitals right now. I admire their ability to stay on top of schoolwork while helping those who need it most and putting themselves at risk in the process. I am extremely proud of my team, the work we have done, and how we have all grown through this class and particularly, having this class at a time like this.
Our reading for tonight’s class was about measuring impact, which has been one of our goals for the semester. We have been working on a viable and sustainable way to measure the impact of the loans we distribute and plan to implement it in the coming weeks. The reading got me thinking about the impact of this virus on people’s lives, the impact this class has had on me, and the impact of caring about our fellow human beings. It is tragic to think about all those who have lost their lives and their livelihoods to this shutdown. There is no sugarcoating it. I choose, however, to always see the positive in things. Although our world may likely never be the same, some things seem to have changed for the better. Not only is the environment benefitting from lack of human activity, but people have grown more appreciative of first responders, grocery store workers, teachers, and more. As many bad stories as there are every day, there are just as many good ones. I am hoping positive attitudes will continue beyond this pandemic and that people will start to think and act more as global citizens. Even though I already had this mindset coming into GLOBE, it has been solidified by seeing how little effort it takes to simply educate yourself on the hardships of others around the world. Whether it means working on the frontlines or simply giving your neighbor a roll of toilet paper, compassion goes a long way. We all have it inside of us, so let’s use it!
By: Stephen Gavrielidis
When we see all the tragedies and unfortunate circumstances around the world, sympathy is perhaps the first emotion that it evokes in us. Perhaps followed by frustration and uncertainty, these emotions can often define how we view those in more difficult situations than us. However, for many in the developed world, empathy is likely not an emotion felt at all, as empathy implies the ability to comprehend another’s pain, particularly if they have gone through similar experiences themselves. As a student attending a private university, it is fair to say that many of my classmates, including myself, struggle to feel empathy for those suffering thousands of miles away from us. The reality is that our worlds are so vastly different, that it is difficult to put oneself in their shoes. That is, until the pandemic. Though a comparison of economic, social, and political circumstances would be unjust and inaccurate, this pandemic has left a large number of people in the US wondering where their next meal is coming from or how they will be able to pay the bills. Undoubtedly, poverty and financial instability is a problem that has plagued the world for centuries, yet for many, this is the first time they have felt this cloud of uncertainty around them. This situation is remarkably difficult for everyone, whether it be due to financial concerns, health concerns, or both. Yet, this pain has somehow brought us all closer together, locally and globally. This is in a direct line to GLOBE’s mission, which is focused on coming together as a global community to be there for one another, and it seems that is exactly what is happening. Despite the exceptions, my experience has been positive in regard to society’s reaction to this global health crisis. It is a comforting thing to see, and in light of this, it is much more evident how relevant GLOBE’s mission and purpose is in today’s world.
As I sit here writing this LOG, I started reflecting on my journey through the G.L.O.B.E program. I was fortunate enough to know many former GLOBE managers who really gave me a lot of insight into this wonderful program, but nothing they told me prepared me for the feelings and experience I have gained. Learning about GLOBE and actually participating and contributing are two completely different ballparks. I have said this countless times throughout the semester, but our borrowers are such resilient and passionate individuals that have taught me a lot about resilience and hard work. From the readings and PowerPoints that Dr. Sama has provided, I have learned so much about the multitude of aspects each borrower has to face aside from building a business from the ground up.
Today during our class time, we went through each group's presentations. In the chapter the IT team prepared for class, they spoke of the Grameen Bank and how many people were treated in Bangladesh especially the loom weavers. Bangladesh is the birthplace of microfinance, and even here many faced hard times. The loom weavers that I mentioned above were an integral part of society since they created the textiles and fine silk clothes for many to wear in Bangladesh, the irony is that even though they have access to such fine materials many of their families would go without clothes and bare necessities since loom weavers are all typically very poor. When the Industrial Revolution hit, their business took a significant decline and many loom weavers (which are women who have joined the Grameen Bank) suffered greatly. The loom weavers had a particularly difficult time paying off their loans but there were many measures taken to rectify these situations. It goes to show it doesn’t matter where you stared or who you are hardships can find you anywhere the only thing you can control is how you choose to handle the situation and how you can fix your issues.
Given that the virus that had become a pandemic has taken over many of our lives, I believe we can learn from our borrowers and act resilience. Yes, we will face hardships and have to face obstacles that we never imagined socially and educationally but we hold the power in how we face and tackle these issues. This is something that really cemented in my mind from our borrowers and the stories I have read by Muhammad Yunus. Every goal we have is attainable in time, all it takes is a little hard work, creativity, and resilience. My dad always tells me “If you love what you do, you will always exceed”, and I think as individuals we all embody that quote.
I want to thank Dr. Sama for selecting me to be a part of this wonderful organization as well as all the advice she has given me with my future career. I had so much fun working on the IT team, as well as honing my abilities as a presenter, teammate, and student. I learned a lot from this class, but GLOBE would be nothing without Dr. Sama! She embodies everything our borrowers stand for. I cannot describe an individual more passionate and willing to invest not only her money but valuable time into helping others and it is such a refreshing quality to see. I hope that GLOBE flourishes with the new managers in the Fall & hope to stay a part of GLOBE and contribute in the following years!
By: Drew Cary
Our time has come to an end here at GLOBE. I can proudly say that this program is one that I will never forget and one to remember most from my time here at St. Johns. It was quite the journey as we began to venture to an online platform, however, each and every one of us adapted adequately and all of our tasks were still complete. I think I can speak for myself and the rest of my team that the Spring 2020 Finance and Risk Assessment Team formed bonds and friendships that will continue on outside GLOBE. We each have our own unique traits that when mixed together, forms one powerhouse of a group. All the way up to our final presentation we always had each other's backs and I am grateful for that. Although our final presentation wasn’t the same as the previous years, I believe it went very well and was very amazed to see the attendance number. It really goes to show you how much external support the GLOBE community has. Being a part of GLOBE not only allowed me to gain real-world experience within the financial sector but also learning along the way and lending a helping hand to those who need it most. Each and every borrower has a distinctive story to tell, and I am glad to say I can be a part of their solution. Just because the semester is over, doesn’t mean we have to leave GLOBE and Dr. Sama for good. I hope to be back next semester and talk to all the new students and share my experiences with them. As soon as this Virus clears up, I truly hope we can all meet one last time in person to celebrate what a wonderful semester each of us has had. With that, I will, of course, keep spreading the word of GLOBE wherever I possibly can, and always wear my GLOBE t-shirt and wrist band with great pride!
I really can’t believe that this semester has come to an end. Although the onset of COVID-19 was upsetting and altered our GLOBE path, I still thoroughly enjoyed all the work I completed and every class we had Tuesday night. I came into the class not really knowing what to expect, but I was willing to work and put my best foot forward and that’s what I did. Being the only non-finance major on the finance/risk assessment team was somewhat intimidating originally, but I settled in rather quickly. Dr. Sama was a pleasure working for/with and not only did I learn about microfinance as a whole, I also learned a lot about myself and grew as a person. My favorite guest speaker of the semester was Evan Dittig, and I really admire how he turned his passions into his business, and also does a lot of good for the community, both local and global. I feel as though I have had the same takeaway as him, and I hope in the future I am able to continue working to make the world a better place and doing my part in alleviating poverty. I figured out how I learn, and the best way I learn is with the hands-on kind of format, rather than the general lecture. For this reason, I am also excited about my opportunity to be involved in EIRP next year (as well as the possibility of having Dr. Sama again) and able to continue this hands-on learning.
I enjoyed working alongside the other teams, and although our goals were somewhat different, the main goal of making GLOBE as successful as we could was what brought us all together. I am already looking forward to coming back next semester to speak and meet with the next GLOBE managers, just like we had this semester. I am also looking forward to sometime next year hopefully attending some type of social event like we had planned at Bourbon Street this semester. I also know I will be attending the final presentations going forward, and keeping an eye on GLOBE, and the work being done. This class is definitely going to stick with me forever, and I can confidently say that it will be my favorite class I took while attending St. John’s.
This past semester in GLOBE has certainly been unexpected. COVID-19 has impacted the lives of billions of people, and sadly it has yet to run its course. The virus has fundamentally disrupted how we go about our day-to-day lives but thankfully has not halted our education. Through my time with GLOBE, different though it may have been from semesters past, we were still able to achieve amazing things.
In terms of learning, GLOBE was incredibly enlightening. We were able to explore some of the more nuanced aspects of microfinance, and how microfinance has an impact on the world. Then, in the Finance and Risk Assessment team, we applied our knowledge through reading the loan applications and crafting loan recommendations. This was a great process for a few reasons. The first being that reading the loan applications and seeing the faces of the borrowers helps form a connection to that borrower. Learning what they need and how it will help them succeed is what I found to be most interesting. Seeing how a motorbike, or the construction of an irrigation system, has the potential to fundamentally change the life of not only our borrowers and their families, but also their communities is something that is truly spectacular. Finally, familiarizing ourselves with the risk assessment model and amortization table was a very real way to understand what we have been learning in finance, and in one case economics, for the past couple of years. Being able to put theory to practice and yield tangible results is also a reward in and of itself, but combining that with alleviating poverty while doing it, that is a different feeling entirely.
In terms of teamwork, the Finance and Risk Assessment team bound together to complete all of our loan recommendations and succeeded in having them all funded by the Steering Committee. This was a monumental success, especially since our team had people in three different time zones. The communication and teamwork amongst everyone were key to our overall success. This communication was not limited to just the Finance and Risk Assessment team. Every manager in GLOBE was able to communicate with each team through our class group chat. Towards the end of the semester, the Finance and Risk Assessment team had a virtual meeting with members of the Enterprise Development and Audit team. This meeting was highly productive and we were able to discuss refining and refreshing the GLOBE loan application that we send out to borrowers. It was also nice to get another team’s perspective on the progress that was made by GLOBE during this semester. The only thing that I wish would have been different was if we had collaborated sooner. Aside from this, the entire GLOBE class was able to achieve so much through assiduous work. Thanks to the efforts of the Marketing and Fundraising team, we were able to achieve our fundraising goal, even in these tumultuous times. Additionally, the IT team also did a great job with the creation of the GLOBE video and managing and growing social media accounts. In total, I think every team did a phenomenal job, especially given the circumstances and stress that everyone was under this past semester. While I was sad to see classes go virtual, thinking back to when virtual learning started and reassessing now, I can see how much our class was able to develop as global citizens and accomplish as managers of GLOBE. For this opportunity, I am truly thankful for all the people I was able to meet, and for being part of a wonderful program that sets out to make the world a better place.
By: Harrison Harvey
What led me to this class was the feeling that I needed to do something impactful with my time not only college but especially my time in the classroom. I wanted to do something that I would remember past the point of graduation or first job, but something that I would remember for a lifetime. I was tired of working with students who are not only closed-minded but naïve of the extremity of the issues of this world. Thankfully I found this class and was able to work with a fantastic group that allowed me to only be myself but also push me to learn and grow. I think this is one of the classes where you don’t see the real benefits until you’re not looking for them. And I think the real benefits come when you are working somewhere, and they throw you in for a three-month project with people you don’t know. That’s when the work and the lessons from GLOBE shine. When you are able to be adaptable and work in a group on various tasks, that is when you see another reason this class is so important. I think for me this process has been one where I have been able to see what I like as well as what I don’t like. I have this understanding that I really enjoy helping others and solving issues. That is something I know that I want to do and feel like I’m good at. Though I don’t know if it will always be in the finance sector, dealing with risk management and tables and charts, I am glad to say that I had that experience and if I was forced to do it I could. I think the most important thing I have taken from this class is that the world doesn’t stop. No matter what is going on there is still always someone that needs help or assistance. The number of people may change but the number never goes away. And understanding that changes the way you think about the problem. I want to be a part of those people who answer questions that we have not yet asked yet and GLOBE has allowed me to really understand the importance and need for that.
By: Khaled Attalah
No way in a million years can I pay my friend and Roommate Anthony Williams back for pushing me to apply to GLOBE. At first, when I read the flyer about GLOBE that he gave me to read over, I didn’t really catch an interest until he explained to me a little more in detail. I am more of an auditory learner and need things explained to me so I can fully understand the topic. After he briefly explained the class to me I was motivated more than ever to apply to this exclusive class. Unfortunately, I got waitlisted which did upset me in a way because I thought I had met all of the requirements for the class. Waitlisted meant I still had a chance and no way I was going to give up on something that I put my mind to. Before the first class of the Spring 2020 semester I emailed Professor Sama asking her if there was an extra spot left and to my luck there was but she had told me that there would be no way I can catch up on all the material before the first class, this was the first time in my college career that I pretty much begged to be in a class and thank God I did.
GLOBE has helped me improve in skills I lacked in, when Professor Sama said in the first class that this class will certainly help you with public speaking and communication, I didn't really believe it until I saw the type of Professor she was in the weeks to come. Professor Sama is hands down one of the best Professors I had at St. John’s University. When she said “your skills will improve over the course of these sixteen weeks” that is because she will help you improve those skills. When Professor Sama gives feedback, she gives the most honest and truthful feedback to help you, not hurt you. Everyone needs constructive criticism in order to better yourself.
Before GLOBE I thought I was a good public speaker, it turns out I wasn’t. If you put me in a room of three hundred people and ask me to educate them on starting a business, I can talk for six hours without a single stutter. GLOBE took me out of my comfort zone but I had absolutely no problem with that because every week Professor Sama would dish out advice that would help me improve for next week. Professor Sama led the way, I just followed. When you see a professor put the effort that Dr. Sama puts in to make sure her students are improving, you do not want to disappoint. Mentioned in my previous logs I used the extra time I had due to COVID in rehearsing speaking out loud about various topics. I was in a VERY supportive group that I did not want to let down so I did lots of things behind the scenes to improve my presentation skills and undoubtedly it paid off. My group was very patient with me and instead of bashing me for my bad presentation skills they uplifted me and gave me tips on how I can present seamlessly. I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason, If I never got into GLOBE five hours before the first class, I would have never known I lack in public speaking in other topics. I see this class as a blessing because as an aspiring law student it saved me from future trouble I would have been facing in law school when it comes to discussing various topics.
GLOBE is not just a microfinance class but a life lesson. GLOBE taught me to walk into everything with an open mind and not think you know it all. Professor Sama, when you are reading this, I want you to know you have helped me beyond GLOBE and taught me valuable life lessons that I will use for life. You have changed me for the better in these sixteen weeks. Thank you, and please do not change the person you are.
By: Kyle Waibel
When starting this program, I truly did not have many expectations. I knew that I would be “changing the world through microfinance” but I had virtually no idea how I was going to do that. I knew I would develop skills to help me do this, but I had no idea what they would be. I knew I would be learning about microfinance and the lending process, but I didn’t know where this education would even begin. While there were many times during this semester I felt that I was in over my head, there was always someone to turn to for support, whether it was my own team members, Dr. Sama, or another team liaison there was always a collaborative team effort from everyone to work together for a common goal. This spirit of cooperation inspired me to push myself past my limits and truly take the most from this program that I could. I truly learned what it meant to be part of a team where everyone pulls their own weight. Even though there was this mutual responsibility, there was also an opportunity to work collaboratively with a team where you can play off the strength of the other in an area you may be lacking in. This collaboration gave me constant opportunity to learn from my fellow students and hone my skills in a way I did not think would be possible as a student at St. Johns. Not only did I learn skills that will set me up for future success I now have a knowledge of microfinance and the harsh inequality that exists in the world today. As a pharmacy student, much of what I learn is extremely focused on diseases and the drugs that treat them with very little knowledge outside of that area. This class has given me a skill set that truly makes me stand out compared to my fellow students that I do not think I would have been able to obtain without program as special as GLOBE. Not only have I been able to develop skills that will help me stand out, but I have also gained an awareness of global issues inside the microfinance world, as well as the world of healthcare. I now have the drive to find a career after graduation that has a larger global focus on working to manifest the change in the world that I so desperately think it needs. I’ve been looking into many drug companies and their social focuses and I have learned that Novartis, the company that I have accepted an internship at this summer, and have found that they have a larger social impact division of their company. Novartis focuses mainly on working to combat Chagas disease and malaria, diseases that run rampant in Central and South America as well as Africa. I’ve already taken steps to connect with many of the people who work on these projects and would be ecstatic to be able to work on changing this humongous issue. I truly believe that GLOBE has not only changed my education, but the trajectory of my life has a whole, and I will be forever grateful to Dr. Sama and the entire GLOBE family.
By: Stephen Gavrielidis
I still cannot believe that this is the last log that I will be writing as a GLOBE manager. Unfortunately, it seems as though the semester has blown by before any of us had the chance to fully enjoy. Regardless, I enjoyed this semester and this particular experience as much as I could, and I did not regret a second of it. Looking back, there is no doubt that GLOBE requires a great amount of dedication, whether it be time, effort, or both. Spending so much time with your peers and classmates give you insight that you will carry on with you for the rest of your career. I hope to share some of this insight in this log. The beauty about GLOBE is that every manager has their own takeaways and own perspective, and my perspective is unique just like every other manager’s. Personally, this was one of the only classes that I had to take a backseat in regard to my team. Throughout both high school and college, I have become accustomed to taking a leadership role with my respective group, and though it was a lot of responsibility, I really enjoyed the experience. However, due to personal issues that sometimes limited my availability and resources, it would have been irresponsible for me to take a leadership position in the group, because I would not have been able to fulfill said position to the best of my ability. Taking a step back was something new, but it taught me a lot about how to support team members, as opposed to leading them. Though I did not need to “take the reins” very often, being a supporting member of a group requires that the individual make themselves as available as possible to help the team succeed. Whether it be pitching in ideas, working on a PowerPoint, or buying supplies for a fundraiser, as a supporting member you must be ready to do anything the team needs. Of course, this is true for every member of the group, including the leader. Secondly, as I have discussed in a previous log, one key gem that I took from this semester was the power of a group with a common goal and interest. In this case, it was the goal of helping our borrowers as much as possible, and making GLOBE as known as possible. Though the global pandemic certainly limited our efforts, especially fundraising, the communal dedication that we all possessed allowed us to outperform expectations and succeed in attaining many of our goals. Finally, I learned a great amount about teamwork. It sounds cliché, I know, but the fact is that one rarely gets the opportunity to work so closely with a group of individuals in their schooling career. This was not a first for me, but I had never worked so closely with a team about real-life matters that could impact real individuals. From the very beginning, the pressure was on, and Dr. Sama made this a clear point. She emphasized that each of our teams would play an important role in peoples’ lives thousands of miles away, and the nature of that impact would rely solely on us. It was nerve-racking at points, but this pressure only made us thrive even more so. My team worked together quite effectively, and we always supported one another. But more importantly, we made sure that each of us was on top of our work, no matter how stressful things may have gotten with the surrounding environment or with school. Reminding one another of deadlines, delegating work, meeting together, and many other factors contributed to our team’s success, and I have learned the importance of these factors in achieving one’s goal.
GLOBE is an experience that I will never forget. Both the members and the borrowers made a lasting impact on me, and I thank all of them for teaching me invaluable lessons that I will never forget, nor take for granted.
My first log was submitted on February the 11th and here I am just about 3 months later submitting my last. This semester has been a challenge, to say the least. However despite it all, with hard work, it has ended extremely successful. In GLOBE we have been faced with many obstacles causing us to think quickly due to the forced shift to remote learning. Our objectives were edited and refocused more times than the Marketing/Fundraising Team would’ve liked, but we did the best we could given the circumstances.
I know I can speak on behalf of every team that it’s definitely not a job that can be done well by one person. It’s been proven that you need a team or multiple for that matter to carry out the mission of GLOBE. Every person matters and each person is vital to their specific team and the class as a whole. On the first day of class, we were a bunch of strangers with a common passion, to serve those in developing countries through microfinance in an attempt to alleviate poverty. When we began the GLOBE Spring 2020 group chat it was fairly silent. As the semester progressed we became a family. All individual teams worked together and united to form a larger team. We communicated regularly about deadlines, assignments, events, etc. Words of encouragement and motivation were always exchanged amongst members. We established a great support system for one another. The night of the final presentation, it hit us all that there’s a great chance we would all never meet again. The group chat was filled with congratulatory text for having finished the presentation and compliments on everyone’s hard work. We established ourselves as the best GLOBE class yet, but then again we’re biased.
Personally, before hearing of GLOBE I didn’t know anything about microfinance. Once I learned more about GLOBE I fell in love with the work it does in partnership with the Daughters of Charity. I think that’s why this semester and every class before were so successful. We understand as students that being a member of GLOBE is more than just a class in which we hand in assignments to get a grade. There are people we’ve met only through loan applications depending on us. We come to quickly realize that we need to do our job, in my case market and fundraise as best I could with my team, for the future of GLOBE. It's also about learning about what microfinance is and its history. The assigned readings, class lectures, and presentations were a vital part of the process as it encouraged us to think like visionaries. It gave us the background we needed to drive our individual team objectives. The more I learned, the more motivated I was to think of new ways to raise money and get the word about GLOBE out.
We began the semester with a successful Valentine’s Day Bake sale and finished with an extraordinary QuadWrangle campaign. Proud to have been apart of a team that made it happen. I am so grateful for everything I’ve learned in GLOBE and am honored to have been a member. I look forward to hopefully traveling with Dr. Sama and other GLOBE Fellows to Guatemala (as soon as it is safe to travel).
I cannot thank you enough, Dr. Sama, for pushing us as GLOBE students to reach our full potential. You are a brilliant and compassionate leader. Your passion for GLOBE and alleviating poverty through microfinance is so inspiring. Ayana and Lina are two other extraordinary people who have always gone above and beyond to help us in any way needed. What you have created is something so special to St. John’s. Thank you for accepting me into the GLOBE family and bringing me along for the journey.
By: Jennifer Portillo
I think the best way I can describe my semester as a GLOBE manager is that I learned to expect the unexpected. Before joining GLOBE, I was not really sure what to expect or what the class would be like. I joined because I wanted to help people, I wanted to help give others the same opportunities I was granted growing up. Being from Nicaragua, I know what it is like to feel helpless and to not feel in control of your own life. I saw my mother and my grandma work so hard every day, yet nothing would ever change. Our living conditions wouldn’t change no matter how hard they worked, we were just casualties of the bigger economic pressures from our country. Nevertheless, we kept on fighting and eventually, my life turned around completely.
Joining GLOBE, I knew that my work would impact someone’s life, I just didn’t know how much they would impact my life as well. Throughout the semester, I had times where I felt motivated and times where I did not want to do anything. But it was during those difficult times that I had to really look inside myself and realize that my work in GLOBE was much bigger than me or my problems. Everything I was doing, even if it was a flyer or just talking to someone about the program could really affect someone else’s future. Every single dollar raised meant that someone else would have the opportunity to get a loan. Every person I talked to could have been a potential donor or partner. If I can take anything from those learning moments is that everything I do, no matter how small, always has a bigger effect; a ripple effect in a way.
Before joining GLOBE, I was never someone who liked working in a team. I was always very independent, and I was wary of trusting other people with my school work, I don’t like having my grade depend on others. However, I had to change my attitude about teamwork because GLOBE is all about working in teams. I didn’t enjoy it at first, it is definitely something I had to get accustomed to. But I am glad I did. Being part of a team taught me to learn to trust others, because one, I can’t do everything myself, and two, my teammates had skills I only wish I had. They were stronger in areas where I was weak. I had to learn the balance between compromising and speaking up for myself when I was passionate about something. Most importantly, I learned to work with a group of people who were all completely different, from different backgrounds, but somehow all fit perfectly together. I don’t think I would have given myself the chance to open up to others in the same way I did in GLOBE, but I am grateful that I had the opportunity to do it and I would do it again.
Most importantly, I learned that once I graduate, I want to pursue work that allows me to help and serve others in the same way that I did with GLOBE. I have always been very passionate about helping people in less developed countries, especially Central America, because of my personal connection to it. I just wasn’t sure how I was going to go about doing that. Now, after listening to some of the stories from our borrowers and guest speakers, I am thinking that maybe someday I could start my own GLOBE organization. I am not sure how soon that will happen or where, but I know that I want to find a way to empower people, either by helping them start, expand their businesses, or by helping them pursue higher education. I was even thinking of starting a summer program where I can spend every summer or some part of the summer in Nicaragua and teach English to anyone who wants to learn. English classes over there are expensive and very hard to get, but learning a second language can help someone get a more formal and better paying job. As of right now, those are all just ideas, but I know that being a part of GLOBE was what really made me realize what I want to do in the future.
All things considered, I am grateful for my time in GLOBE, even if it was cut short. I am grateful for being part of a program that helps change people’s lives and I hope that I was able to contribute something meaningful to it. The only thing I was saddened by is that my time with GLOBE was cut short, but even that taught me to persevere through the most difficult of times.
Man, what a semester it has been. With full anticipation for the semester to be the best so far, I was very disappointed when news came around that everyone must leave campus with no idea of return. Now, I can say that there is still some disappointment, but it is still one of the best semesters of my college career. I have GLOBE to thank for that. From the very first day of class, Dr. Sama created a welcoming atmosphere that made me comfortable. I first thought my classification status would set me back from others in the class. Thinking that I was not as skilled or equipped to study at the same level as my peers in the class. That thought was quickly diminished after getting to know my teammates. We all treated each other as equals with equal responsibilities.
Along with meeting a class of new students, the content I learned in the class was quite memorable. I did not know the microfinance industry and how it ran. Doing some of my research before the start of the class, I learned that it is an industry rooted in serving others. Having a serving background, it was evident that this course will broaden my serving opportunities. The course material helped me understand the ins and outs of the industry. I learned how it is run, who it benefits, and ethical motions behind it. Most importantly, how it promotes empowerment to one’s microfinance serves. I found this course a large service project. Creating fundraising events has always been exciting to me. This is why I was so thrilled when I found out that I got to be a manager in the marketing and fundraising team. The hard work we put into collecting donations folds over into something that will extend to communities all around the world.
Now after the semester, I am proud to say I accomplished all I hoped to in this course. Of course, we all wished for circumstances to be different, but as a class, we came together as a unit and produced effective and efficient work. It was an honor to been named as a GLOBE manager and fellow. I will continue to tell others of what an amazing organization Dr. Sama created. The mission is incredible and so selfless that you can see al the heart behind it. I am looking forward to seeing how this will apply in my future.
By: Mary Zouvelos
It is truly astonishing to see that the semester is wrapping up. Wow. I have no words, and Dr. Sama knows, I rarely do not have words (aha).
In the beginning of the semester, I, nor anyone else could have anticipated what was in store for the world. During the week of the GLOBE Lives, I spoke in abundance about my experience with this organization and I have to say, being able to openly reflect on the work I have been able to contribute and the lessons I have learned, in front of a group of virtual strangers has been extremely beneficial. Something I found myself going back to frequently was how in the beginning I was filled with uncertainty about what my role in GLOBE would be. As time went on I was able to connect my talents to my passion for GLOBE and truly “just run with it.”
An aspect that I was very excited about was the GLOBE Donor Social. Truly, I consider it my baby. While unfortunately, the event was unable to be completed, I sincerely hope that the future student managers take advantage of the work that has been already done and are able to coordinate an event that I have great faith will be successful in raising funds and awareness for such a worthy organization.
Even with quarantine, this semester was not wasted! Two fruitful campaigns that were able to be run were the GLOBE Lives in conjunction with QuadWrangle. The social media takeovers were definitely different than a media interaction done in the past and it was an excellent way to harness the power of the Marketing ~ Fundraising team and IT! Being able to interact with our online community was certainly rewarding. I loved being able to share my passions with others and hopefully take a few people’s minds off of the current state of affairs.
Being a part of GLOBE is rewarding in many aspects. Some are short term; working in a dedicated team towards an important goal, knowing that young person you were a part of being able to raise funds for people who truly need it and that the money goes to better their lives of these entrepreneurs and the lives of their families. However, there is also the long term. While working through receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies the past three years, I have found my passion for event planning. As I gained more experience and was given more responsibility through working and coordinating events with Campus Activities, I noticed how I was always drawn to non-profit work. Luckily, I was able to gain experience in event planning the convention for Origami USA, and international non-profit, but all these experiences that were taken up merely out of my curiosity and love for a passion I had acquired. Having the privilege of being a student manager and team liaison for GLOBE has truly cemented my love for the non-profit world. It has made me realize that I can use my talents in marketing and planning combined with my love of people and extroverted personality to perhaps pursue a career in fundraising. The future always seems so uncertain, but in taking part of the GLOBE experience, I feel as if I have a little more direction. It has provided me with excellent experiences and insight on what I may want to do with my future.
At the beginning of the course, something I heard frequently was, “You will gain real-world experience and by the end will feel prepared for the workforce.” I can attest that it is a VERY true statement. I have a year before I graduate and while I do plan on taking the GRE/LSAT in anticipation for law school or some other form of a graduate degree, which will have scores usable for the next five years. I now am planning on taking a gap year or two in-between my undergraduate and graduate experience to professionally work in the event planning - non-profit world. I largely have Dr. Sama and GLOBE to thank for this. Thank you for giving me the encouragement and affirmation that I am good enough, additionally, thank you for further opening up the world of non-profits to me! I am indeed grateful.
By: Kassandra Alfaro
Now that the semester is officially over, I would like to reflect on how much of an impact GLOBE has had on my academic career and personal growth. When I sent in my application for GLOBE, I knew in my heart that this class was meant for me. I didn’t know much about microfinance, but I knew that Dr. Sama and the students in this organization were impacting the lives of others, specifically those living in developing countries. After hearing stories from past GLOBE managers, I knew I was in for a great experience and I wanted to learn more! Now after a full 4 months I can officially say I was a GLOBE manager, a team liaison, and worked alongside the best people I’ve met at St. John’s University. I feel so proud to be a part of a team that has accomplished so much despite the unexpected challenges we faced this semester and I can’t wait to see what next semester’s GLOBE managers have in store.
Coming into GLOBE, I was fresh with new ideas to bring to the Technology and Communications Team. Although I was torn between the Marketing and IT teams, I chose IT because of my passion for videography, photo editing and social media marketing. Luckily, I was able to utilize these skills to help me create great content for GLOBE’s social media and campaign video! In addition, a goal of mine coming into this semester was to become more of a leader and share my thoughts. I used to be too shy to share my thoughts and take charge of group efforts, however this semester I am so happy that I was able to be the team liaison for the IT team and also took the initiative to lead the group throughout the semester. Despite moving online, our semester was a huge success and in the end, I am so proud of my team and the amazing effort we put into our social media platforms and final presentation. Lastly, what I have learned from GLOBE is how to be a professional in the business world and how to implement ideas of social business projects to organizations and/or my own business someday.
All in all, I would like to say GLOBE has a special place in my heart that I will never forget, it has allowed me to see the world differently in many ways and has taught me valuable skills for my future career. With that said, I am extremely excited about future classes to get the same opportunity to experience something so amazing and I cannot wait to share my tips/advice with them as well!
As I’m writing this, my time as a GLOBE manager comes to a close. I am so grateful to have been a part of such a meaningful and worthwhile organization. This class has taught me so many valuable life lessons that I will carry outside the classroom and throughout life. This organization has made a lasting impression on my life and I hope through my actions I made a difference in our borrowers and GLOBE as a whole.
Being on the IT team taught me a lot of interesting techniques and made me hone in on the specifics of an audience and what content is more influential and appealing as opposed to others. As someone who is on social media fairly often, I thought I knew almost everything there is to know. I am currently working to try and be a micro-influencer on my personal platform as a lifestyle blogger. It was always something that has intrigued me, but I was always too afraid to take that next step and really create content and engage with the following I have already created. Learning about the different media in GLOBE really helped me to dissect the audience that I currently have and helped me create cool ideas that I will surely be trying on my personal account as well.
My team is also something I am super fortunate to have. Coming into GLOBE I was a little nervous since I didn’t really know many people beforehand. Group work is not my favorite thing in the world but your class really changed my mind on that. My group despite our rough beginning was filled with phenomenal people in general. We were able to create connections beyond the classroom and create meaningful and creative content amidst the craziness that COVID-19 brought to us this semester. While COVID-19 has been wreaking havoc, I believe the silver lining to it for GLOBE would be that I don’t think anything else could have brought our class as close as we have become. We were almost forced into communicating and collaborating constantly to the point where I created such great friends that I will be visiting in Grad school and even have classes together with some as well! We really became a family and I will miss each and every person in our spring class.
Dr. Sama, you are the heart of GLOBE. I know you believe that the managers really represent GLOBE but you deserve more credit than you know. Without you, Lina or Ayana this semester wouldn’t have run as smoothly as it did, and I couldn’t imagine finishing this semester without the support of you all. Thank you for all the time you have invested in this program and in choosing me to help represent your baby that is GLOBE. I can’t wait to see what the future class will accomplish and can't wait to support and contribute in the future in any way I can!
I learned about GLOBE when I was at a difficult point in my life. I had recently lost the Marshall Scholarship, and a few days later, I lost my maternal grandmother. Additionally, I had to move out of my home on Long Island as a result of a relationship with my father. The loss of that relationship along with my previous losses made me feel as though I was devalued and really made me feel as though I didn't have anything to look forward to next semester. With this in mind, I decided to just keep my head in the books and keep pressing on. Then, one day in the library, I met a young man named Brandon who participated in GLOBE during the Fall 2019 semester. I knew him from giving him advice about academic success and started talking about my interests in international development. He recommended that I apply to be a GLOBE manager and that while it was a tedious endeavor, it was nevertheless enjoyable and fulfilling. Thus, I applied with the hope to get accepted into the program, but I expected not to receive admission. Nevertheless, once I did receive admission into the program, I was thrilled and for the first time in a while, I looked forward to something to do in the spring. While I looked forward to my participation in the class, my group assignment made me nervous.
As I have stated in my previous logs, I was initially nervous about being a member of the IT team for various reasons. While these feelings were eventually resolved and disappeared, they were nevertheless essential to my first view of GLOBE. Our first conversation concerning our initial thoughts on poverty was a tad bit concerning from my own perspective. Focusing on the small conversations within our groups which preceded the class-wide discussion, I heard some normal misconceptions regarding people who are living in poverty both within the United States and around the world. I felt a little uneasy, however, I did not say anything because I did not want to be known as “that guy” so I let the conversation play itself out with a mere interjection in the middle. While I do not recall my group voicing any of the misconceptions that they had out loud publicly, the fact that some people had them made me feel as though I would be working with people who had great and pure intentions when joining GLOBE, but had negative preconceived notions about people in poverty. I am happy that these feelings only occurred during the first class, and my experiences differed from what I thought they were going to be. From this moment on, I felt as though it was smooth sailing until the first week of March.
While the IT Team finalized our goals around the last week of February, we had a general conception of what we were supposed to do. We dropped the ball when it came to Facebook and we had to make up for lost time. While this was an easy task, the impact that COVID-19 had made had on our group tested us both professionally and personally. We never thought that COVID-19 was going to have the impact that it had on our work concerning GLOBE, our academic and personal life. Nevertheless, we worked to make sure that we completed the goals that were still achievable and we adjusted the goals that were not feasible. While this work resulted in the creation of new GLOBE programs and I believe made the program as tough as teflon, the impact that it had on me was profound.
I have an unhealthy obsession regarding topics that center around international affairs and international development. Additionally, prior to entering the class and still now, I have a limited understand of microfinance. Four months will not make anyone an expert in any subject. However it is enough time to spark a passion inside of a person and make someone study a topic more in-depth. Of all of the classes that I had as a student at St. John’s, this class was the most inspirational and made me want to read more about the focus on the class. Probably JSTOR's biggest fan, I was reading an article about the impact that access to microcredit has on people in the Global South twice a week. However, most importantly, GLOBE made me happy. I don't think people realize how tough being a college student is, and when you don't have anything to look forward to, you can feel lonely. I looked forward to Tuesdays because I was working with students who were liked minded in their goal to help people. In this life, we always take from others, and rarely do we stop to give back to the world. I hate to sound melodramatic, but in GLOBE, I found a family when I really needed one in my life and I will always remember that throughout my life. I had a professor who I believe had the best intentions in everything she did and genuinely cared for all of her students - something I consider a rare find at St. Johns. The fact that you spoke with me, let alone spoke with me about grad school meant the world and I will always remember that. While these things made my experiences at GLOBE worth it, the fact that I was able to help people pursue their dreams and subsequently change their communities made it all the better.