Frequently Asked Questions for University Administrators and Faculty Members

What types of universities can join the network?

The CGI University Network is open to accredited universities and colleges both in the United States and around the world. More than 60 universities have already joined for 2017, pledging more than $720,000 total to support leading student innovators on their respective campuses.

Who at the university should coordinate this effort?

Each member of the University Network must appoint a CGI U liaison, who will work closely with both university staff and CGI U staff throughout the year. The CGI U liaison could work in student affairs or the dean of students office, the immediate president or chancellor's office, or a relevant center for innovation or entrepreneurship on campus. 

What is the best way to find an effective campus mentor for students?

Some of the best mentors are experts or practitioners in the fields most relevant to student projects. Faculty members or administrators involved in social entrepreneurship, design, or public service might serve as effective mentors for student commitment-makers. A campus mentor should have time to dedicate to guiding the students as they move from idea to action, and have a working knowledge of many of CGI U's five focus areas: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health.

Can the university's liaison also serve as the campus mentor?

Yes, these roles may be combined.

Do any university staff members attend the CGI U meeting?

Members of the University Network are invited to send one staff or faculty member to the CGI U meeting to engage in networking opportunities with other members and gain a more thorough understanding of the CGI U model. We recommend that this representative be either a CGI U campus mentor or CGI U's liaison at the university.

How does the university determine the funding breakdown between student commitments and student travel?

In order to qualify as a member of the University Network, a university must allocate at least 50 percent of its (minimum $10,000) funding to support student commitments. The remaining funding may be reserved for student travel to the CGI U meeting. CGI U is free to attend, and meals are provided throughout the event. Travel and lodging costs typically range from $300 to $700 per student, depending on the distance from the host campus and the average cost of lodging in the host campus city. 

What is the average amount of seed funding provided for each student initiative?

Most seed funding for student commitments ranges from $1,000 to $3,000 per commitment. It is at the discretion of the university to determine the amount of funding it provides to individual commitment-makers, as well as the number of students who receive funding, as long as the total amount of funding (commitment seed grants and student travel stipends) meets the $10,000 minimum per academic year requirement for joining the University Network. 

As part of the CGI U application, each student is asked to provide a detailed plan that outlines the scope of his or her commitment and how it will be implemented. Universities can use this information to determine funding allocations, and can also ask their students to submit supplemental information, such as budgets or detailed timelines.

Do student commitments have to take place on campus?

CGI U encourages students to make Commitments to Action that devise innovative solutions to challenges on their campuses, in their local communities, or around the world.

How are the funds and accounting managed? Are there any restrictions on student commitment funding?

All funds are allocated by and through the university. The accounting for these funds is managed by the university, and all funds are allocated at its discretion. University Network funds are not given to or distributed by CGI U. The university will report annually to CGI U on the project and travel funding allocated to student commitment-makers.

What communication does a member of the University Network have with CGI U and vice versa?

CGI U staff are available throughout the year to communicate with and support University Network members. The CGI U team can work with the university as needed to support outreach efforts and to provide guidance on allocating funding and mentoring student commitment-makers. The most critical communication occurs late in the fall semester and early in the spring semester, when each university receives a list of students from its campus who have been accepted to attend the CGI U meeting. From this list, the university decides how to allocate its funding to students. In addition, each University Network member is required to submit two formal reports to CGI U, outlining student funding allocations for travel and commitments. The CGI U staff will solicit these reports via online forms. The university has the opportunity to renew its membership in the CGI University Network in the summer for the year ahead.

For Students

If my university is not part of the network, can I still apply to CGI U?

Yes, the CGI U meeting brings together students from hundreds of colleges and universities and more than 80 countries. As long as you are 18 or older and are enrolled in a post-secondary institution at the time of the meeting, you are eligible to apply to CGI U.

How can I get my university to join the network?

Speak to members of the faculty and administration at your school and discuss this opportunity. You can download the CGI University Network Guide, which you can share with your contacts at your university. If interested, your university can contact the CGI U office to speak with our staff about joining the network.

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

CGI U provides need-based travel assistance to a limited number of students to attend the CGI U meeting. You can apply for this assistance in the online meeting application. Students may find funding from a variety of outside sources. Tips for finding funding can be found in the CGI U Commitments Guide.