Ever since fall last year, I’ve noticed something strange occurring on campus. Every week, there are people in green T-shirts standing on the corner of University Way and Sixth Avenue S waiting for students to pass by.
They work for Greenpeace, a non-governmental environmental organization that aims to “ensure the ability of the Earth to nurture life in all of its diversity,” according to its website.
Greenpeace has many strong beliefs on environmental issues such as deforestation, overfishing, anti-nuclear issues, climate change and commercial whaling. They peacefully protest these issues to the public and raise money to help out with these causes.
However, some of their beliefs are a little extreme and can stir some controversy.
These environmental activists strategically stalk the same areas on the USF St. Petersburg campus, stopping students to attempt to convince them to donate money.
Normally, they stand in front of the parking garage to grab commuters and in front of the SLC to grab residents. I know I’m not the only one who is sick of this because many other students have spoken to me about how obnoxious they can be.
The first time that I was stopped by a Greenpeace advocate, a young woman mentioned saving endangered manatees and what people can do to help. From what she was telling me, it sounded nice. I would love to help make a difference and save the manatees! I was even willing to volunteer.
However, I was completely turned off when she told me I would have to sign up and donate monthly to the organization in order to contribute. When I asked her how much it cost, she just told me to go on the Greenpeace website.
I simply told her that I respected what they were doing but I didn’t have the money to donate every month.
The following day, I saw the Greenpeace advocates again, and this time a young guy tried to give me the same rehearsed speech to convince me to donate.
I had to tell him that someone else had already given me the information that I needed to know about manatees and that I wasn’t able to donate. This continued happening on a daily basis, and it got to the point where I felt like I was being harassed and solicited for money.
Its come to a point where whenever I see Greenpeace advocates on the same corner and I try to think of ways to avoid them. I pretend that I am talking on the phone or that I’m late for class.
Why is Greenpeace trying to promote their organization on a college campus? Do they think students are made of money? As if tuition, books, gas, groceries and in some cases, rent, isn’t enough?
I’m not saying that students don’t care about the environment, but a lot of us have crazy schedules and are not financially stable enough to afford to donate.
If Greenpeace is looking for people to help with their cause, they’re not targeting the correct audience. They should target people who have more money to donate and share the same beliefs their ideologies.
Greenpeace shouldn’t focus heavily on donations instead of actually taking action. If they really wanted to make a difference for the environment, one would think they’d welcome my volunteer offer with open arms.
Instead, they turn me down because I can’t afford to make monthly donations to them. Just because I don’t have the money to “help” the environment does not mean that I don’t care about our planet.
I personally feel violated by these people who are trying to solicit me everyday.
I know Greenpeace is just an organization looking for donations, but there are other ways to promote besides standing outside for hours and harassing people for money. If they are looking for people to contribute to their beliefs and causes, I would suggest that a college campus is not the best place to do it.
© Photo courtesy of GreenPeace