Credit: Paul Morse
Mar 24
March 24, 2014

Highlights from CGI U 2014


For the past three days, more than 1,000 students, from nearly 300 colleges and universities, all 50 states, and more than 80 countries came together at Arizona State University for the sevent annual CGI University (CGI U) meeting. An initiative of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, CGI U is dedicated to empowering the next generation of leaders to solve global challenges. Like the CGI Annual Meeting or CGI America, the goal of CGI U is not to merely discuss the issues at hand, but to make specific Commitments to Action to address pressing challenges facing campuses and communities around the world.

Below are some highlights from the event and a sampling of the ways that attendees are commiting to change the world for the better:

Nearly 700 Commitments to Action

Attendees of this year's meeting made 695 Commitments to Action, addressing a broad range of issues. A student from University of Guelph will produce sustainable and affordable cooking devices made from iron to combat iron deficiency in Cambodians, ultimately hoping to distribute 10,000 of these this year and 50,000 by 2015. Students from Cornell University will combat the low retention and graduation rates among African-American men through a peer mentoring program. In total, since CGI U was first held in 2008, students have made approximately 4,800 commitments.  

I was deeply inspired by the many catalytic new ideas I heard over the last two days. The energy, enthusiasm, and optimism of the students who attended was evident, and I’m confident that their commitments will have a lasting impact.
Chelsea Clinton

Closing Conversation with Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel joined President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton for a lively closing conversation that also included questions from the student audience. You can watch the full session below. There is also one particularly well-traveled highlight, when the group greeted CGI U commitment-makers after the session. Watch full video of all Plenary Sessions on Livestream.

Clinton Foundation Day of Action in Downtown Phoenix

On Sunday, students gathered in downtown Phoenix for the Clinton Foundation’s ninth Day of Action, to help transform a previously vacant 15-acre lot into a sustainable public space. The morning of community service was in collaboration with PHX Renews, a partnership between the City of Phoenix and Keep Phoenix Beautiful, and also brought together local organizations such as One-n -Ten and IRC in Phoenix. To kick off the Day of Action, Chelsea Clinton and President Bill Clinton were joined by the Mayor of Phoenix Greg Stanton, and Co-Founders of Americans for Responsible Solutions Former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and Former Astronaut Mark Kelly. Visit the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative on Instagram for more highlights.

RECORD Support FOR Student Projects

This year, more than $750,000 in funding was available for CGI U attendees. The funding marks the largest sum in the meeting’s history, including $650,000 from the growing CGI University Network of more than 55 colleges and universities and another $100,000 through the Resolution Project Social Venture Challenge, a competition between aspiring student entrepreneurs with sustainable enterprises. 

An additional $60,000 was also raised by students who participated in the CGI U 2014 Commitments Challenge, a national online competition of new commitment ideas from college and university students in the form of a “bracket.” The winners of the Challenge were Washington University in St. Louis students Daniel Feinberg, Caitlin Lee, and Madelyn Welsh, who commit to create a texting service to help locate missing loved ones in the aftermath of disasters. They received a $5,000 prize, made possible by Craig Newmark, founder of and craigconnects. You can support their work and the other participating commitments on CrowdRise.