Innovating Solutions

By UM News

Innovating Solutions

By UM News
UM students are participating in this year’s Clinton Global Initiative University, which seeks solutions to pressing global issues.

Nearly one month after the Atlantic Coast Conference Leadership Symposium brought students together to collaborate on realizations of social change, nine University of Miami students are heading west to attend the seventh annual Clinton Global Initiative University.

The CGIU, which will be held March 21-23 at Arizona State University, is a yearly meeting where students, youth organizations, topic experts and celebrities come together to discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global issues of the Millennial generation.

At the gathering, students bring ideas for new projects and initiatives that address these issues and take real, concrete steps to implement them and effect social change. As a part of the CGIU Network, UM’s William R. Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership Development sponsors students who serve as leaders and innovators tackling challenging social, economic, and environmental issues both locally and globally.

“CGIU provides our student leaders with an incredible opportunity to turn their ideas into action,” said Andrew Wiemer, director of the Butler Center for Service and Leadership. “At the meeting, students will network with their peers from all over the world, and build skills that are necessary to creating service projects that will make a profound impact on our community.”

More than 1,000 innovative student leaders have created “Commitments to Action” in CGIU’s five focus areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health. UM’s 2014 student commitment are: Nikhita Allam – PLANT (Presentations for Learning About Nutrition Together); Ryan Durga, Kathryn Hornbeck and Melissa Wyatt – Condom Courier; Ahron Menghani – University of Miami South Florida Environment Protection; Eric-Dillan Smith, Smitha Vasan and Mary Wissinger – Rising with the Sea Levels of Miami; and Guerdiana Thelomar – Generation Hope: Haiti Summer Camp. This year’s featured participants at CGIU include Jimmy Kimmel, María Elena Salinas, and UM alumna Lauryn Williams, U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist in Sprinting and Silver Medalist in Bobsledding.

Student participants will take action on some of Generation Y’s biggest social, economic, and environmental concerns, as well as participate in a day of service with PHX Renews in downtown Phoenix. “Each year, the commitments and partnerships that come out of CGI University prove that young people are not only up to the task of working towards a safer, more sustainable world, but that they are eager to get started now,” said Chelsea Clinton, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation.

“Whether interested in starting a social venture to fight HIV/AIDS or increasing women’s interest in STEM in remote areas of the world, students come to CGI U to turn their ideas into action.” Building upon the success of the original Clinton Global Initiative, CGIU is a growing consortium of collegiate leaders who are developing innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

The CGIU “Commitment to Action” is a comprehensive, formal plan of action to address a specific problem on each participant’s campus, in their community, or in another state or country. A complete schedule of this year’s CGIU sessions can be found online. UM is one of 55 colleges and universities that have committed to support, mentor and provide funding to student innovators and entrepreneurs from their respective schools, and hosted the CGIU meeting in 2010. For more information, visit the Butler Center on Facebook or contact the Butler Center at 305-284-4483. {encode="m.ondrizek@umiami.edu" title="Megan Ondrizek"} can be reached at 305-284-3667.