Photo Credit: Steve McConnell / UC Berkeley
Sep 23
September 23, 2015

CGI University Launches Application for CGI U 2016 at UC Berkeley


On Wednesday, September 23, the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) team announced that the University of California, Berkeley will host the ninth annual CGI U meeting, from April 1-3, 2016. Undergraduate and graduate students from around the world will gather to discuss and begin implementing projects in one of five focus areas: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Poverty Alleviation, Peace and Human Rights, and Public Health.

Students enrolled at institutions of higher education can submit an application now. The early decision deadline is October 16, 2015, and the final application deadline is December 1, 2015. Learn more about the application process. 


President Bill Clinton created CGI U in 2007 to empower young people to address some of the most pressing global challenges facing their generation. CGI U convenes students from around the world—as well as renowned experts and civically engaged celebrities—for a three-day meeting each spring. Students apply online to attend CGI U and are required to submit a detailed plan for a new, specific, and measurable Commitment to Action.

Photo Credit: Barbara Kinney / Clinton Global Initiative


From rural villages in India to underprivileged neighborhoods in the Bay Area, former UC Berkeley commitment-makers are improving lives and addressing critical challenges.

Anu Sridharan made a CGI U commitment in 2008 with an idea to improve water delivery through mobile phone technology. Since then, her commitment has become a rapidly growing social business called NextDrop. Based in India, it works with local residents to provide accurate water delivery data via text message, and coordinates closely with utility companies to increase the effectiveness of their distribution channels.

The service now has 75,000 subscribers in four Indian cities, recently launched a new smartphone app, and is getting ready to expand their business to Bangalore. NextDrop also plans to expand to African nations next: “We’re finally at that point where we’re ready to scale rapidly—not just in India but in other countries as well,” Anu told NPR last month.

While Anu and her team are targeting communities abroad, Vrinda Agarwal and the team at 100 Strong are working to make an impact in low-income communities in the Bay Area. Agarwal and her team have trained approximately 45 female UC Berkeley students to act as mentors to underprivileged eighth grade girls in Oakland, California, preparing the young women to enter STEM fields and become effective entrepreneurs. The mentees are also asked to develop social impact projects, which they present in a showcase for mentors, family, and other guests on UC Berkeley’s campus.

Photo Credit: Mike Tindle / Clinton Global Initiative

“We faced a lot of challenges making this project a reality over the past two years, so it was a dream seeing this project come alive,” Vrinda said. “It was so nice to see it have a multiplier effect on the community, where girls were really using their projects to benefit each other.”

Though Vrinda has graduated, there is new leadership that will ensure the group's ongoing success, including an initiative to expand the mentoring project to high school students.

There are thousands of other CGI U commitment-makers, from UC Berkeley and other institutions around the world, who are working tirelessly to improve lives and make a positive impact. Read more about CGI U commitments here, and find out how to join this growing coalition of young leaders by applying for CGI U 2016 below. 


To apply to attend CGI U 2016, students must be at least 18 years old and enrolled in an institution of higher education at the time of the CGI U meeting. The early decision and travel and lodging assistance application deadline is October 16, 2015, and the final application deadline is December 1, 2015.

The CGI U meeting is free to attend, though students must fund their own travel and lodging. CGI U has a very limited amount of funding available to assist with travel costs, which students can apply for during the early decision application period.

Interested and eligible students can learn more at and apply through this online form.


The CGI University Network is a growing consortium of colleges and universities that support, mentor, and provide seed funding to leading student innovators and entrepreneurs. More than 50 schools have already joined the University Network for the 2015-2016 cycle, pledging more than $600,000 to support student commitment-makers. Learn more

If you have any questions about the application process, please call 212.710.4492 or email [email protected].