Frequently Asked Questions

In the sections below, we address the following questions:

HISTORY

  • WHAT IS CGI?
  • WHAT IS CGI U?
  • WHAT MAKES CGI U DIFFERENT FROM CGI?

APPLICATION

  • HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHO IS ACCEPTED INTO CGI U? WHAT ARE YOUR CRITERIA?
  • WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY TO CGI U?
  • DO YOU HAVE TIPS FOR DEVELOPING A COMPETITIVE APPLICATION?
  • WHAT IS THE TIMELINE FOR CGI U?
  • WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I SUBMIT MY ONLINE APPLICATION?
  • WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE EARLY DECISION DEADLINE AND THE REGULAR DECISION DEADLINE?
  • AM I ALLOWED TO APPLY WITH MULTIPLE COMMITMENTS?
  • WHAT IF I AM INELIGIBLE TO APPLY BUT I KNOW SOMEONE WHO WOULD BE A GREAT CANDIDATE FOR CGI U?

COMMITMENTS

  • WHAT IS A COMMITMENT TO ACTION?
  • CAN I ATTEND CGI U WITHOUT MAKING A COMMITMENT?
  • WHAT IF MY COMMITMENT DOESN'T NEATLY FIT INTO ONE OF YOUR FIVE FOCUS AREAS?
  • WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL AND STUDENT GROUP COMMITMENTS?
  • WHAT IS A COMMITMENT KEYWORD? WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF IDENTIFYING PRIMARY, SECONDARY, AND TERTIARY KEYWORDS IN MY APPLICATION?
  • I'VE ATTENDED CGI U IN THE PAST, CAN I REAPPLY WITH THE SAME COMMITMENT?

MEETING

  • HOW DO I RECOMMEND SOMEONE AS A SPEAKER FOR THE CGI U MEETING?
  • WHERE WILL THE NEXT CGI U MEETING TAKE PLACE?
  • HOW MUCH DOES THE MEETING COST?
  • IS THERE A SCHEDULE FOR THE EVENT?
  • WHAT ARE PLENARY AND BREAKOUT SESSIONS?
  • WILL I BE ABLE TO KNOW WHO ELSE IS ATTENDING CGI U PRIOR TO THE EVENT?
  • CAN I BRING A FRIEND?
  • IF I CAN'T MAKE IT AT THE LAST MINUTE, CAN MY FRIEND GO IN MY PLACE?
  • WILL I BE PENALIZED IF I AM UNABLE TO ATTEND PART OF OR THE ENTIRE CGI U MEETING?
  • WILL I BE GUARANTEED TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO PRESENT MY COMMITMENT?
  • HOW ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO HAVE YOUR COMMITMENT FEATURED AT THE MEETING DETERMINED?
  • IF I HAVE A DIETARY RESTRICTION, HOW DO I ENSURE THAT MY MEAL REQUIREMENTS WILL BE ACCOMMODATED?

TRAVEL AND LODGING

  • HOW CAN I RAISE FUNDS TO ATTEND AND COVER MY TRAVEL COSTS?
  • DOES CGI U PROVIDE LODGING AND TRANSPORTATION TO ATTENDEES?
  • CAN I STAY WITH A FRIEND DURING THE MEETING?
  • DOES CGI U PROVIDE MEALS?
  • CAN CGI U ASSIST ME IN ACQUIRING A VISA?

CGI UNIVERSITY NETWORK

  • WHAT IS THE CGI UNIVERSITY NETWORK?
  • HOW CAN I ENCOURAGE MY UNIVERSITY TO JOIN THE CGI UNIVERSITY NETWORK?
  • CAN I APPLY TO CGI U IF MY UNIVERSITY IS NOT A PART OF THE CGI UNIVERSITY NETWORK?
  • CAN I GET FUNDING FOR MY COMMITMENT OR TRAVEL IF MY UNIVERSITY IS NOT PART OF THE CGI UNIVERSITY NETWORK?

BEYOND THE MEETING

  • WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I ATTEND THE CGI U MEETING?
  • WHAT IS A CGI U COMMITMENT MENTOR?
  • WHAT IS A CGI U CAMPUS REPRESENTATIVE?
  • WHAT IS A CGI U ALUMNI AMBASSADOR?
  • WHAT FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE?

HISTORY

What is CGI?

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders from all sectors to create and implement solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. These commitments to bring together cross-sector partners and turn ideas into action became known as Commitments to Action: new, specific, and measurable initiatives that address a pressing challenge.

From 2005 to 2016, CGI Annual Meetings brought together 190 sitting and former heads of state, more than 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. Members of the CGI community made more than 3,600 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 435 million people in more than 180 countries. Today, CGI continues to convene leaders and stakeholders from all sectors to turn ideas into action on unique and pressing challenges  such as relief for Puerto Rico hurricane victims; the fight to end elephant poaching; and access to life-saving treatment in developing countries.

To expand CGI's reach, President Clinton launched CGI America in 2011, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions for economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U) in 2007, which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their communities and around the world.


wHAT IS cgi u?

CGI U is a growing community of young leaders who don't just discuss global challenges—they take real, concrete steps toward solving them. Throughout the year students develop their own Commitments to Action: new, specific, and measurable initiatives that address pressing challenges on campus, in local communities, or around the world. Commitments range from manufacturing wheelchairs for developing countries to establishing campus bike share programs, from creating free vision clinics to developing e-learning applications for mobile phones. CGI U students are given access to a range of networking, skill-building, mentorship, and funding opportunities, and each year a new cohort of students are invited to attend the annual CGI U meeting where they’ll examine and develop innovate solutions to global challenges with over 1,000 peers, university representatives, topic experts, and celebrities.

CGI U is proof that young people have the power to make a significant impact by confronting some of the world's most urgent challenges. Since 2008, more than 10,000 students around the world have Commitments to Action, and more than $3 million in funding has been awarded to these commitment-makers through the CGI U platform, including the University Network, Innovation Fund, Commitments Challenge, and Resolution Project.


What makes CGI U different from CGI?

Although CGI U operates with a similar Commitment to Action model as CGI, CGI U is dedicated to students and universities. Targeting a more specific sector, CGI U focuses on the distinct potential that young people and higher educational institutions have to make a difference on their campuses and around the world.


APPLICATION

How do you decide who is Accepted into CGI U? What are your criteria?

We are looking for individuals with well-defined Commitments to Action. Commitments can address challenges on your college campus, in your local community, or in a region of the world in which you have great familiarity. Our team is looking for students with concrete, detailed plans of action and passion and energy for a global issue. Each year, we hope to broaden the CGI U community to include a diverse group of students from a varied range of disciplines who all have the common goal to take action and make a difference.


WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY to CGI U?

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and currently enrolled in an institution of higher education at the time of application. Students who will be at least 18 years of age and enrolled in an instituion of higher education at the time of the CGI U annual meeting are also eligible to apply. International students, both those studying in the United States and abroad, are eligible to apply.


DO you have tips for developing a competitive application?

While the CGI U application process is selective, it is also designed to be inclusive and enriching as you work toward developing your Commitment to Action. Before you submit your application, make sure you read through the Application Checklist.


What is the timeline for CGI U?

The CGI U application typically opens 6 months prior to the CGI U annual meeting. A more detailed timeline will be provided once the application for the next CGI U is announced.


What happens After I submit my online application?

Our selection committee carefully considers each application before selecting the incoming CGI U cohort. Because of the volume of applications we receive, we cannot offer personalized feedback. Students can expect to hear from our team regarding the status of their application approximately one month after submission.


what is the difference between the early decision deadline and the regular decision deadline?

Students who apply Early Decision will also have an opportunity to apply for travel assistance. The CGI U team will extend invitations to a select group of students in the Early Decision round. If students are not admitted during the Early Decision round, their application will be revaluated during the Regular Decision round.


AM i allowed to apply with multiple commitments?

No. Students are not allowed to submit more than one application. Only the first application will be considered by the selection committee.


If my group has more than three members, can we submit the same commitment in seperate group applications?

No, each application must outline a unique Commitment to Action. Applications with duplicate commitments will not be considered even if the group members differ.


What if I am ineligible to apply but I know someone who would be a great candidate for CGI U?

If you know any students who you think would be exceptional candidates for CGI U, you can fill out this Nomination Form (link available soon). The person or people you nominate will receive an email from the CGI U team explaining that you have nominated them to apply for CGI U and how to do so.


COMMITMENTS

what is a commitment to action?

Commitments to Action, a unique feature of the Clinton Global Initiative, translate practical goals into meaningful and measurable results. CGI U commitments address specific challenges across CGI U's five focus areas, and each is assigned a more specific commitment keyword. Commitments are new, specific, and measurable initiatives that can be small or large, local or global, financial or nonmonetary in nature.


commitment criteria

New: Each commitment must be a new initiative for the individual or group making the commitment. If your commitment is an expansion of an existing effort, consider focusing on a different geographic area, working with new partners, or shifting the focus or scope of the initiative.

Specific: Each commitment must address a specific challenge with a defined course of action and detailed objectives. Define your commitment's goal, outline your planned activities, and identify how long it will realistically take you to complete your project.

Measurable: Each commitment should achieve results that are measurable and can be reported back to CGI U. The impact of your commitment can be determined in many ways, whether you're measuring volunteers trained, houses built, children tutored, or hours of direct service provided.


Can I attend CGI U without making a commitment?

The CGI U meeting is about taking action. In order to attend, all applicants must make a commitment. Although there are many valuable conferences and gatherings that take place without such a requirement, the goal of CGI U is to bring together people with a plan and a passion to create positive change and take action.


What if my commitment doesn't neatly fit into one of your five focus areas?

We don't expect all commitments to fit squarely under one of CGI U's focus areas. In fact, education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health are often inextricably linked. However, as a way to form strategic networks around common issues, we ask that you select the global challenge area that is most relevant to your commitment.


what is a commitment keyword? what is the purpose of identifying primary, secondary, and tertiary keywords in my application?

Commitment Keywords help specify the issue areas your commitment is addressing, and are utilized when pairing students with their Commitment Mentor, identifying outstanding commitments for featuring opportunities, and more.


What's the difference between individual and student group commitments?

Individual commitments are efforts that are spurred by a single individual who decides to take action on an issue of importance to them. (Example: I will reduce my personal carbon emissions by 50 percent over the next year.) A student group commitment is a commitment that, from the start, is a collaborative effort by a group of students. This effort could stem from a pre-existing student organization, or a group of students who come together around a CGI U commitment. (Example: We will reduce the carbon emissions of our dorm by 30 percent over the next year.)


MEETING

How do I recommend someone as a speaker for the CGI U meeting?

Please send an email to [email protected] with detailed information about the individual and why they should serve as a speaker at CGI U.


Where WILL the next cgi u meeting take place?

We will announce the dates and location of the next CGI U meeting in the near future. Stay tuned!


How much does the meeting cost?

CGI U is free to attend for all accepted students. However, CGI U attendees must cover their own hotel and travel costs or apply for travel and lodging assistance on their applications. Travel and lodging assistance is only given out to a small percentage of accepted CGI U attendees with demonstrated financial need. In order to be eligible for travel assistance, students must apply by the Early Decision deadline.


Is there a schedule for the event?

The next CGI U annual meeting agenda will be posted at a later date. You can browse our 2018 meeting agenda here.


What are plenary and Breakout sessions?

Click here to learn more about the plenary and breakout session format.


Will I be able to know who else is attending CGI U prior to the event?

Once all applicants are notified of their acceptances, they receive access to members-only social networking opportunities. Connecting with other attendees in your area can be useful for commitment brainstorming and sharing resources.


Can I bring a friend?

Unfortunately, CGI U can only accommodate accepted applicants. If you have a friend who is interested in attending, please encourage them to visit our website and apply.


If I can't make it at the last minute, can my friend go in my place?

We are unable to accept substitutions for attendees, and can only accommodate the specific student who applied and was accepted. As there are many students who would like to attend CGI U, please keep this in mind when you are applying.


will i be penalized if i am unable to attend part of or the entire cgi u annual meeting?

Absolutely not! The CGI U meeting is not mandatory to attend, in part or in its entirety, if you are accepted to the CGI U program, and you will not be penalized in any way if you are unable to attend part of or the entire meeting.


will i be guaranteed to have the opportunity to present my commitment?

No. Select students determined by the CGI U team will have the chance to formally present their commitment via on-stage featuring opportunities or CGI U Exchange. If you do not receive an email from the CGI U team notifying you of your selection for these opportunities, you will not formally present your commitment. However, we encourage all students to craft an elevator pitch and bring business cards or handouts detailing their work in order to discuss their commitment with other attendees throughout the weekend.


how are opportunities to feature commitments determined?

On-stage featuring opportunities are determined solely by the CGI U team. When selecting commitments to feature we consider the content and detail of a student’s application, programmatic alignment with particular sessions, and for returning students, any submitted Progress Reports from previous years. Other opportunities, such as the Commitments Challenge and CGI U Exchange, require a seperate application for interested CGI U students, and selections are made by the CGI U team based on the strength of these applications.


if i have a dietary restriction, how do i ensure that my meal requirements will be accommodated?

Students with dietary restrictions will have the opportunity to indicate this on their CGI U meeting registration form. If you are concerned about meal options, please email [email protected].


TRAVEL AND LODGING

How can I raise funds to attend and cover my travel costs?

We urge you to think creatively and resourcefully in order to raise the money to attend CGI U. This can begin with talking to your adviser, dean, or a friendly professor about the possibility of your school sponsoring you to attend the meeting. For more ideas on how to raise funds, visit our Commitment Resources page.


Does CGI U provide lodging and transportation to attendees?

We encourage all applicants to complete the travel assistance portion of their applications for CGI U. We also negotiate room blocks at favorable rates with several hotels in the area where our meetings take place, which will be shared with registered students in advance of the meeting. There will also be an opportunity to request to share a hotel room with other attendees.

Additionally, we suggest you visit our members-only online community before the meeting to help facilitate carpooling to and from the event, and to find other people that may want to share a room.


Can I stay with a friend during the meeting?

Yes, you are welcome to stay with a friend. However, we strongly encourage you to stay near the campus or surrounding area for the duration of the event.


Does CGI U provide meals?

CGI U will provide meals for attendees free of cost for the duration of the meeting.


can cgi u assist me in acquiring a visa?

Unfortunately CGI U nor the Clinton Foundation can assist students in applying for a visa. This includes contacting any government office or embassy, writing recommendation letters, or covering any application fees. However, the CGI U team can prepare a formal letter of acceptance for students to supplement their visa application. Please note that these letters will only be generated by direct request; email the CGI U team if you need a letter. Per the State Department’s website, students travelling from outside the United States to the CGI U meeting should apply for a B-1 visa for business visitors, as this category includes attending educational conferences.


CGI UNIVERSITY NETWORK

What is the CGI University Network?

The CGI U Network is a professional network of college and university officials who are responsible for supporting, mentoring, and providing seed funding to leading student innovators and entrepreneurs. A staff member at an institution of higher education can submit an application to join the CGI University Network if their respective institution can commit at least $10,000 annually to support accepted CGI U students. The CGI University Network is comprised of higher education professionals from around the world, who are dedicated to promoting and supporting social impact and entrepreneurship on their respective campuses. CGI U staff directly assist University Network members in promoting the CGI U model on their campuses through webinars, phone calls, an in-person strategy meeting in New York City with other institutional staff members, and an invitation to attend the annual CGI University event.


How can I encourage my university to join the CGI University Network?

Speak to members of the faculty and administration at your school to try to get them on board. You can find more information about the University Network here, which you can share with your contacts at your university. If a member of your university's administration is interested in discussing the CGI University Network, they can contact the CGI U team directly at (212) 710-4492 or by email at [email protected].


Can I apply to CGI U if my university is not a part of the CGI University Network?

Yes, the CGI U meeting brings together students from hundreds of colleges and universities and more than 100 countries.


Can I get funding for my commitment or travel if my university is not part of the CGI University Network?

The Clinton Foundation does provide travel and lodging assistance to select students with demonstrated financial need who apply by the Early Decision deadline. In order to be eligible for travel assistance, students must apply by the Early Decision deadline, no exceptions. Students are encouraged to find additional commitment funding from a wide variety of outside sources. Tips for finding funding can be found in Commitment Resources.


BEYOND THE MEETING

What happens after I attend the CGI U meeting?

At the CGI U meeting, you will learn how to turn your ideas into action by engaging in topic-specific conversations, skill building sessions, and networking opportunities with youth organizations and other student commitment-makers. After the meeting, you can utilize commitment development resources available on our website, attend CGI U meet-ups in cities around the world, and stay connected with other students through CGI U Facebook and LinkedIn groups. You will also have acces to your assigned Commitment Mentor throughout the course of your participation in CGI U to further enhance your commitment. The CGI U team will solicit formal progress reports from all CGI U attendees as they complete their commitments. We encourage you to keep us updated on your commitment progress by sharing your CGI U success stories. Lastly, as a CGI U alum you will periodically receive newsletters and emails to notify you of upcoming engagement opportunities and applications, networking and skill-building events, and fellow commitment-makers in the news.


What is a CGI U Commitment Mentor?

Commitment Mentors facilitate conversation, share resources, build community, and help CGI U participants refine their Commitments to Action through virtual communication and in-person meet-ups. Each CGI U commitment-maker is assigned a Commitment Mentor. Commitment Mentors are previous CGI U participants who have finished their undergraduate studies, demonstrated progress on their commitment, and have academic or field knowledge in one of CGI U's keyword areas. Commitment Mentors serve as an integral part of CGI U in a professional capacity.


What is a CGI U Campus Representative?

Campus Representatives work with students, youth organizations, and the university community to build awareness of CGI U on their respective campuses. These individuals are well acquainted with CGI U, as each Campus Rep has previously been accepted to CGI U. Campus Reps have the opportunity to conduct campus outreach to spread the word about CGI U, organize recruitment events with interested students, help CGI U applicants develop their Commitments to Action, and submit their own Commitments to Action to attend the CGI U meeting.


What is a CGI U Alumni Ambassador?

With more than 10,000 alumni worldwide, CGI U relies on motivated volunteers to coordinate meaningful engagement opportunities for fellow alumni. Alumni Ambassadors will serve as representatives of CGI U and are committed to building stronger connections between CGI U alumni within different regions, focus areas, and affinity groups as well as support the on-going commitments of current and former CGI U students.


what funding opportunities are available?

In addition to CGI U Travel Assistance and University Network funding, various funding opportunities for current and former CGI U students will become available throughout the calendar year, such as the Commitments Challenge and Resolution Project Social Venture Challenge. Students and alumni will be notified when these opportunities become available.