In March, students from over 75 countries and 300 schools came together in Miami for CGI University, where they made hundreds of Commitments to Action that address pressing challenges on their campuses or in communities around the world.
In addition to turning their ideas into action, some students also channeled them into op-eds published in national publications. Addressing issues ranging from food poverty to eco-friendly fashion, their writings demonstrate how the next generation of leaders are using CGI U to address both age-old problems and contemporary concerns.
Read on for the latest thought leadership to emerge from members of the CGI U community.
SOCIAL-GOOD GAMING WILL ONLY REACH ITS POTENTIAL WHEN WOMEN DO TOO
By Mariam Adil, for Venturebeat
Social impact gaming – a genre of video games that aims to address challenges ranging from poverty to climate change – has been buzzed about in social innovation circles for over a decade. Among those who are exploring the technology as a tool for social good are CGI U participants such as Mariam Adil, a graduate student at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. In 2013, she made a Commitment to Action to develop social impact games through her venture GRID – Gaming Revolution for International Development, and her releases so far include games to aid the work of international development practitioners and to challenge offensive stereotypes.
But for gaming to truly affect change on a large scale, the industry will have to increase gender inclusion, Mariam argues in an op-ed for VentureBeat.
“To be clear, it’s not that women are more inclined to care more about solving global challenges than men are,” she writes. “But more inclusion means more ideas to mine, more successes to scale up, and, just as important, more failures to help us move the industry forward."
WHY IT’S UP TO MILLENNIALS TO DEFEAT ISLAMOPHOBIA IN AMERICA
By Leena El-Sadek, for Elite Daily
Earlier this year, the shootings of three young Muslims in Chapel Hill ignited fresh concerns about Islamophobia in the United States. Leena El-Sadek, a senior at Duke University, added to the national conversation with her op-ed for Elite Daily. She argues that the younger generation has a unique opportunity to take on prejudice.
“Millennials have done incredible things to help Muslims in conflict-afflicted countries across the world, and now, in light of contemporary events, we are also called to confront the challenges that Muslims face in our own backyards,” she writes.
“I am working to do that through my CGIU commitment to develop Conflict Cookbook, which features both the stories and favorite recipes of Muslim women from conflict countries, who now face misconceptions about their faith in America.”
WHY COMPOSTING YOUR OLD CLOTHES SHOULD BE FASHION’S NEXT HOT TREND
By Lydia Baird, for Elite Daily
The fashion and textile industries have become more eco-friendly, but Lydia Baird and Willa Tsokanis, students at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), believe that there is still much work to be done. To do their part, they made a commitment through CGI U this year to develop the first cotton muslin composting system at FIT.
In her op-ed for Elite Daily, Lydia explains why she's an advocate for the biodegradation of garments. “People often overlook the fact that before they were manufactured, natural fibers, such as cotton and wool, were organic matter,” she writes. “Like an apple that falls from a tree, cotton clothes can be composted into nutrient-rich, organic fertilizers to improve farming conditions and reduce soil erosion.”
IN THE MIDDLE EAST, MOBILE PHONE TECHNOLOGY HELPS GIRLS GET IMMUNIZED
By Jordan Schermerhorn, for Fusion
Unlike in the U.S., where kids might miss their shots due to busy schedules or a fear of needles, violent conflict is often a barrier for children to get much needed vaccines in the Middle East. Jordan Schermerhorn, a student at Duke University, is collaborating with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to strengthen immunization scheduling in the Middle East by implementing text message reminders that reach mothers when children miss or delay their immunizations.
“My work in the Middle East has left me absolutely convinced that investing in reliable, trustworthy health and development programs is essential to halting the cycle of violence and disease – vaccines are a simple part of the equation,” she writes.
Jordan Schermerhorn (far left) and Mariam Adil (far right) were among the CGI U 2015 commitment-makers featured in online publications such as Fusion, Elite Daily, and Venture Beat, where they discuss contemporary issues and how their committments are making an impact. Credit: Paul Morse // Clinton Global Initiative.
RURAL AFRICA IS THE MOST EXPENSIVE PLACE ON EARTH TO CHARGE A PHONE
By Paul-Miki Akpablie, for Fusion
Energy poverty affects millions of people across Africa and makes mobile phone usage more expensive. Paul-Miki Akpablie, a native of Ghana and student at Colorado College, has developed a long-lasting battery to help bring the cost down. In his op-ed for Fusion, he disscusses why he is implementing the innovation in his home country.
“Sub-Saharan Africa is ripe for investment," he writes. "Economies are growing, and improved infrastructure is helping to connect all corners of the continent. Introducing long-lasting batteries to rural areas of Ghana proves that solutions to energy crises – whether local, like in the case of Ghanaian villages, or global – are ready to be discovered.”
FOUR REASONS WHY FOOD TRUCKS COULD END HUNGER IN LOW-INCOME AREAS
By Jeremy Goss, for Fusion
The food truck renaissance has seen the humble halal truck go from cheap as potato chips to nearly as expensive as fine dining. Meanwhile, mobile food markets operate by selling healthy, wholesome foods to communities that grocery stores have otherwise abandoned. Examples include the St. Louis MetroMarket, developed as a CGI U commitment by Saint Louis University School of Medicine student Jeremy Goss
Jeremy advocates for the use of mobile markets to help the millions of families who live in food deserts. In his op-ed for Fusion, he writes, "This week, as I join over 1000 Millennials for CGIU 2015 to share the progress I’ve made in St. Louis, I am calling on others from cities around the world to join me in advancing a newer, fresher vision for the urban food truck.
For more information on the meeting, including photo and video highlights, visit CGI U 2015 online.