People and Community University

Global initiative inspires students to pursue action

Through the Butler Center for Service and Leadership, nine University of Miami students were selected to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University three-day event in Nashville, Tennessee.
Through the Butler Center for Service and Leadership, nine University of Miami students were selected to participate and attend the Clinton Global Initiative University in Nashville, Tennessee.

From top left clockwise are students Demi Trimm, Pavan Gudoor, Caitlin Slattery, Gayathri Samuel, Ashley Babulal, Ethan Tieu, Paul Douilon,  Armelie Mande, Bridget Craig, and their advisor Lindsey Goldstein. The group attended the 15th Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) meeting at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Nine students represented the University of Miami through the Butler Center for Service and Leadership at the Clinton Global Initiative University annual meeting, a three-day event that connects action-oriented students deemed as emerging leaders in their communities. 

Founded by former President Bill Clinton in 2007, the Clinton Global Initiative University annually connects thousands of students from across the country to inspire emerging leaders to tackle pressing challenges facing their campuses, communities, and the world. 

The 15th Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) meeting convened this year on March 3 at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and brought together leaders and global experts in business, public service, and social impact to discuss with the students the development of innovative solutions to global challenges. The group participated in trainings, modules, and events that introduced the necessary tools to transform their ideas into action. During the trainings, they also learned how to develop skills such as fundraising, organizing, and resilience. 

“The magnitude of the impact of attending the Clinton Global Initiative University is beyond measure. It was truly inspiring to hear from world leaders, their words of wisdom about resilience, authenticity, bravery, and kindness really emphasized the power we all have to create positive change,” said Lindsey Goldstein, associate director for the Butler Center. “This experience added so much value by connecting the students from the University of Miami with fellow global changemakers and mentors as well as resources to bring their commitments for social change to action.” 

Beyond the three-day event, students selected for the initiative engage in a 10-month curriculum that focuses on the development of early-stage social impact ideas into scalable projects. They also receive personalized mentorship opportunities and access to funding streams to facilitate their projects.

Some of the students discussed their experience at the Clinton Global Initiative University.

Ashley Babulal, a sophomore majoring in microbiology and immunology:

The chance to take part in CGI U was certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity. I gained a greater understanding of what my next steps should be from discussing projects with students from around the globe to speaking one-on-one with recognized global leaders. I was able to identify the foundation we established for Student Ambassadors for Vaccine Equity (SAVE) and the possibilities we have to grow this organization, thanks to the different panel discussions held by the Clinton family. As I continue on this journey, I am optimistically looking forward to meeting my mentor. The major takeaway from this opportunity is that as global leaders, we recognize those who are taking action to creating the change our world needs. 

Caitlin Slattery, a junior studying marketing and business technology:

My experience was a lot larger than just advancing my project. The connections I was able to establish will follow me through the rest of my life and I am forever grateful for this! For example, I connected with someone in Arkansas doing similar work to me, and we are now planning to work together in the future. I am truly grateful for this experience. I cannot wait to see the fruits of what CGI U will bring me beyond what it has already. 

Demi Trimm, a senior majoring in accounting:

I had the opportunity to embrace a powerful truth that change is possible, and success is the fuel to do more. My experience at CGI U gave me insight on the kind of impact I would like to make serving in my community, while building and fostering relationships to be the next changemaker. If my freshman self could see how far I have come in terms of involvements and leadership, she would be proud. Being able to travel to CGI U and share my projects with my peers motivated me to continue pursing change in my community. The investment in me is an investment in my people. 

Ethan Tieu, a first-year student majoring in neuroscience and computer science:

Words cannot describe how stunned and honored I am to have participated in the CGI U 2023 annual meeting. Not only was I given the rare opportunity to learn from some of the most experienced and motivated minds that the fields of leadership and social impact have to offer, but I was able to forge connections with future movers and shakers who have changed the way in which I will pursue my passions and grow my Commitment to Action. Few words can describe how grateful I am to have been able to attend this life-changing event, and fewer words can express my gratitude. 

Gayathri Samuel, a senior studying business law and finance:

The Clinton Global Initiative brought together some incredible aspiring leaders and global experts in business, public service, and social impact to develop innovative solutions to global challenges. I'm grateful to call those aspiring leaders my network and to have partaken in such an incredible opportunity. I'm excited to implement all that I've learned and gained into my global initiative, Hygiene for Women. The idea that was once only a plan is now in full-force action. I am extremely grateful to have met global and national leaders and changemakers. Getting to hear speeches and panel discussions by some true trailblazers such as Bill Clinton, and so many others, was an experience of a lifetime. 

Paul Douillon, a senior studying political science:

My time in Nashville at CGI U was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Having the opportunity to connect with young changemakers from across the globe discussing the plethora of ways in which we want to change the world had to be one of the most unique experiences I have ever had. It is fascinating to see how passionate, innovative, and inspired this generation of leaders are. We understand that modern problems require modern solutions, and we are coming up with these modern solutions by combining our creative ideas with cutting-edge technology. CGI U reminded me that we are ready, willing, and committed to tackling the issues of our time and that we are no longer dreaming of others to solve our problems. Youth all over the world are waking up, getting to work, and being the change that they want to see in the world. I am immensely grateful and honored to be a part of such a network of students and changemakers.