Green thumbs and purple Polio for reading week, anyone?

By Le Quach and Jourdan McGinn

Le and Jourdan are generously sponsored by the Rotary International Foundation as Global Scholars. Each year, a handful of students begin at the School as Global Scholars.

Le is studying the MSc Epidemiology and her undergraduate studies were economics and politics. She has studied and worked on humanitarian emergencies since 2011. Jourdan is in the MSc Public Health for Development program studying the intersection of enterprise and reproductive health. Previously, she worked for the last half decade in rural East Africa at the intersection of business, technology and behavior change.


Rotary International, by way of its local Rotarians in the London area, donated the iconic purple crocuses for a plot in the School’s gardens at Tavistock Place. The purple crocuses symbolize the purple ink-stained finger of immunized children during Polio vaccination campaigns.

The purple crocus sales by Rotary International are one of the leading international fundraisers for the End Polio Now campaign of the global Polio eradication program, raising more than £1,000,000. Rotary International has been among the leading organizations behind Polio alongside many partners, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation triples each dollar raised by Rotary International. The purple crocuses have been sold in fifteen countries, and the global effort is being coordinated by the Rotary of Britain and Ireland.


The Global Scholars found that it is quite timely to have a plot of the iconic crocuses in the School’s gardens, considering the School’s place in Polio research and eradication and as a leading institution for global public health and public health diplomacy, as indicated by its partnerships; these include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Rotary International, by way of the handful of Scholars that enter its halls each year as future public health leaders.

Let’s call it doing things from the bottom up (literally!).

The purple crocuses planted by Le and Jourdan are expected to bloom in early spring 2017, at which time we will post more photos.

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