Chelsea Clinton and family just wrapped up the 7th annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) meeting at Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona.
CGI U was established by former president Bill Clinton in 2007 and is a network of universities from all over the world that challenge students to take on global problems by being innovative and collaborating with each other.
For students to be a part of CGI U, they must make a Commitment to Action in one of five focus areas: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, or Public Health. Each student who fills out an application with a detailed implementation plan of their commitment could be one of the lucky ones to receive monetary funding for their project.
For a university to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative University, the college must appropritate at least $10,000 annually to award to student commitments. The participating university must also designate a liaison and a mentor for educating staff and students.
Clinton Foundation Vice Chairman Chelsea Clinton told the WorldPost that – “… more than 1,000 students will attend CGI U 2014, representing all 50 states, more than 80 countries, and more than 270 colleges and universities around the world — many taking time out of their spring breaks.”
Giving up a portion of your spring break to tackle global challenges and try to make the world a better place is certainly an argument for changing the current attitudes many Baby Boomers have towards Millennials. While the generational gaps of today, due in large to communication, technology, and job instability, may reflect a disconnect between Boomers and Millennials, it’s these same causes for the gulf that may be the answers to the CGI U’s global challenges. The CGI University-Microsoft Pulse on America surveyed Millennials and found that “62% said that it is likely that their generation “is better equipped to handle the greatest issues facing society”; 72% said that is a result of “access to better technology”; and 79% said that they are “optimistic about the direction of their local community.” It was reported that the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative University resulted in 695 new commitments.
2013 commitments included such projects as distributing home birth kits to women in Bangladesh and building furniture in Port au Prince, Haiti to help employ mobility-impaired individuals. One successful project included a soccer ball that stores energy during play and produces light at night so children can do their homework.
Not only did CGI U attendees get to listen to the 42nd president Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and daughter Chelsea Clinton, they also rubbed elbows with Jimmy Kimmel, Arizona Senator John McCain, and founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales. An impressive cast of other attendees can be found here.
While both Hillary and Chelsea Clinton have dodged questions concerning future political aspirations, Chelsea has communicated that there are many other platforms for Millenials to make a positive difference in the world. Chelsea stated to the WorldPost:
“Kiva, Crowdrise, Indiegogo, Change.org, SMS platforms post emergencies, Americorps, Teach For America — not to mention Twitter and Facebook. And so many other outlets exist today to empower people to mobilize online and off, to facilitate civilian service and to raise our voices collectively that were unimaginable a generation ago.
“Politics today is one of many options. You don’t need to be elected to political office to change the world.”
Videos of the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative University can be seen on YouTube.