Student commits to global action

By Mike Piacentino

Student commits to global action

By Mike Piacentino
Shravya Jasti was selected to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative University’s Commitments Challenge to support her work in India.

From combatting the impacts of climate change in South Florida to revitalizing the coffee industry in Dominica, University of Miami students work every day to create innovative solutions to overcome some of the world’s most pressing issues.

Later this month, Shravya Jasti, a sophomore majoring in neuroscience, will spend her Fall Break with nine other University of Miami students at the 11th annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) meeting hosted at the University of Chicago.

During the weekend-long meeting, more than 1,000 undergraduate students from across the world will discuss their Commitments to Action and develop proposals for tangible solutions to real-world problems. Commitments to Action are focused in the areas of education, environment and climate change, poverty alleviation, peace and human rights, or public health.

Jasti’s commitment, Speak for the Future, is a project she began in high school and helps young girls in India develop their public speaking and writing skills, while also aiming to prevent child marriages.

So far, Jasti has already taught public speaking and creative writing skills to more than 250 underprivileged students at Chukkapalli High School in Adavinekkalam, India. After seeing two female students pulled out of the school due to the cost, she created an ongoing scholarship fund to promote girls’ education in the village area. By raising nearly $3,000, Jasti ensured that 17 girls were able to attend school without putting a financial burden on their families.

“Stage fright has crippled me for as long as I can remember, but I have never wanted it to rule my life,” said Jasti, who is originally from New Jersey. “But through my own experiences, I have learned about the amazing power of writing and speaking for myself. These skills can transform a girl from one who is unable to raise her hand in class into a compassionate and independent leader in her community.”

Due to its continued support for students who get involved with CGI U, including serving as a host site for the annual meeting twice, CGI U recognizes the University of Miami as a University Network institution. Coordinated by the William R. Butler Center for Service and Leadership, students receive mentorship and guidance from experienced staff members, financial support to travel to the meeting, and often receive seed funding for their projects.

“It is important for us to provide opportunities like CGI U to students so they can meet other student leaders from across the world as they work to develop solutions to global challenges,” said Andrew Wiemer, director of the Butler Center for Service and Leadership. “Programs such as CGI U are a direct reflection of President Frenk’s strategic focus on fostering student success through engaged learning while positioning UM as a hemispheric leader.”

Jasti’s commitment was selected as one of only 50 commitments to participate in the CGI U Commitments Challenge. In partnership with GoFundMe, this fundraising challenge allows selected Commitment Makers to compete to raise the most funds to financially support their Commitments leading up to the annual meeting.

Jasti plans to use the funds raised from her campaign to purchase books, computers and projectors to assist with the public speaking classes within the school. In addition, she hopes to offer scholarships for young girls to attend school. Jasti hopes to raise $2,000 through the challenge, and her campaign has already reached nearly 50 percent of its goal.

To learn more about Speak for the Future or to support Jasti’s Commitment Challenge campaign that ends on October 18, visit https://www.gofundme.com/speak-for-the-future-cgiu.

“One of our goals within the Butler Center is to educate students on ways to become positive social change agents within their local and global communities,” said Lindsey Woods, assistant director in the Butler Center for Service and Leadership. “CGI U is an incredible platform for students to be able to do this while affording them a unique learning opportunity outside of the classroom.”

Other UM students whose Commitments to Action were accepted to this year's CGI U meeting are Rachel Daniel, Akhil Madurai, Rhea Manohar, Hailey Mody, Delali Norvor, Childera Nwosu, Neil Patel, Marisa Stephens, and Sumra Wahid.