A few weeks ago, GW hosted the fifth-annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), bringing more than 1,000 college students from 50 states and 82 countries to campus.
Each year CGI U hosts a meeting where students, topic experts and celebrities come together to discuss pressing global issues in five focus areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health.
To participate in the meeting, students create commitments to action that address pressing issues in their communities or in different parts of the globe. These commitments can be anything from starting a campus anti-smoking initiative to promoting maternal health in underserved communities. Since its inaugural year, CGI U has seen more than 3000 commitments to action made by students, universities and youth organizations, with another 915 made this year.
Many GW students submitted commitments to action and joined the ranks of Bill Clinton, Madeline Albright and other distinguished speakers and moderators as they presented their ideas at the meeting in March. Panda Cycles, a commitment by GW students Chris Deschenes (GWSB), Jon Torrey (SEAS) and Matthew Wilkins (SEAS), won Bill Clinton’s “bracket” challenge after receiving the highest number of votes between 16 of the most innovative plans submitted. Their project, which aims to provide sustainable and affordable bamboo bikes to developing countries, got the endorsement of the former president himself.
The fifth-annual CGI U meeting included student-networking opportunities, working sessions in each of the five focus areas, skill-building sessions, a service project that partnered with Rebuilding Together and the USO, and speeches and panel discussions by various notable speakers.