Global Initiative University aids environment and human rights

Calling all future economic leaders of America or anyone who wants to have their voice heard, here is your chance. The Clinton Global Initiative University is accepting applications for their 2011 annual meeting on April 1-3 at the University of California in San Diego. This is a chance for over 1,000 graduate and undergraduate students, non-profit leaders and social entrepreneurs from across the country to come together in a meeting to discuss current economical and global problems and how they can be resolved.

There are many discussion topics, but the top five are education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation and public health.

The institution was created in 2005 by former president Bill Clinton and was set to gather great minds from around the country to formulate ways to correct, or at least improve upon, the world’s current problems.  Participants will make a commitment to action and go back to their Universities and communities to implement the ideas that are generated. If students continue to succeed in their achievements, they can be eligible for the Outstanding Commitment Award, which will award $1,000 to $10,000 grants.

Sophomore Leslie Smith is very enthusiastic about the conference.

“Even though it happens every year, it sounds like a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Smith said. “The more support we can get from students up here in Alaska the better, because we get left out of a lot of important things that occur in the lower 48.”

In 2009, UAF chancellor Brian Rogers attended the CGIU meeting and made a pledge with his Honors College students to work with local architects and engineers to design a sustainable facility using a 1950s-era house on the campus. This projected was estimated to cost around $1,000,000, and the students intend to keep their pledge at any cost if it means making UAF a better place for everyone.

UAA Student Connor Keogh, member of the Office of Sustainability, commented that a great plan for the Anchorage campus to propose at the conference to implement for citywide effort is a recycling program.

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“Anchorage only recycles 14 percent of its material. Anchorage is also one of the largest U.S. cities without a city-wide recycle plan,” Keogh said.

This is only one of many possible proposals, and the only way to really take action is to go and speak about it. Students don’t have to be a part of any organization, but it would help if they had a group of people to help them with their plans. According to previous results, the majority of students who attended and made a commitment to action ended up gaining support all over their communities and managed to attain their goals of improving their areas.
“Commitments made in 2010 alone will improve the lives of more than 290,000 people, and I am looking forward to joining next year’s attendees at the University of California, San Diego in April to see the progress being made,” Bill Clinton commented on the CGIU website.

The deadline to sign up is Feb. 7, giving students ample time needed to complete an extensive application, which asks various questions and requires several short essays in order to be considered.

There are applications for individuals or those who wish to gather a group of students.  Through the initiative, students will have the opportunity to share their ideas and be heard by important members of our country. It is also a great item to put on a resume for the future. Visit www.cgiu.org for the application and additional information.