Last weekend, a group of college students competed in a tournament with brackets -- but they weren't in Houston or Indianapolis, they were in La Jolla, Calif., or the inaugural Clinton Global Initiative University Commitments Challenge.
As the university put it: On Friday, President Clinton opened the fourth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) by announcing innovative student projects that will improve health care in Africa, help children around the world go to school, and increase understanding between American and Middle Eastern college students. More than 1,000 students attended CGI U this year, and each one created a Commitment to Action - a concrete plan to address an issue within CGI U's focus areas: Education, Environment & Climate Change, Peace & Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health. This year, students and student groups made 950 new commitments. In addition, more than 59 leaders from National Youth Organizations will attend, and they made 38 commitments.
"Young people today have more power to effect change than any generation that has come before," President Clinton said. "Since CGI U was founded in 2008, students and organizations have made more than 3,000 commitments which have improved the lives of thousands of people around the world. These students are taking action to solve the great global challenges of our time - and they are inspiring others to make a difference as well."
Students attend the CGI U meeting to turn their ideas into action by learning about issues, networking with nationally-known leaders, and gaining inspiration from their peers. The meeting featured sessions on topics including college affordability, LGBT rights, poverty along the U.S.-Mexico border, and ocean pollution. Students also participated in hands-on workshops designed to improve their understanding of fundraising, marketing, and community engagement.
With 117,000 votes, Matthew Severson from Brown University, creator of The School Fund beat Charlotte Crone of North Carolina Central University, founder of the Healthy Choices Project in the finals of the CGI U Committment Challenge.
The Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) challenges college students to address global issues with practical, innovative solutions. CGI U members do more than simply discuss problems - they take concrete steps to solve them by building relationships, creating action plans, participating in hands-on workshops, and following-up with CGI U as they complete their projects. Previous CGI U meetings have taken place at Tulane University, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Miami, and have convened more than 2,500 students from 575 schools in 99 countries and all 50 states. To learn more, visit CGIU..
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made nearly 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 170 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued in excess of $63 billion. The 2011 Annual Meeting will take place Sept. 19-22 in New York City.
This year, CGI will also convene a meeting focused on driving job creation and economic recovery in the United States. The meeting, CGI America, is the first CGI event solely dedicated to U.S. issues, and will take place in Chicago June 29-30.
The CGI community also includes MyCommitment.org, an online portal where anybody can make a Commitment to Action, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making. For more information, click here or here.