President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton concluded CGI U at the University of Chicago that engaged more than 1,000 student leaders on issues related to including hurricane recovery, expanding civic participation, gun violence, and youth incarceration.
Chicago, IL – This weekend, more than 1,000 college and university students from across the country and around the world came together at the University of Chicago for the 11th annual CGI University (CGI U) meeting, making more than 700 Commitments to Action to address this generation’s most pressing challenges.
New commitments this year include efforts to combat the opioid crisis in the United States by building an online platform to reduce stigma and provide access to the overdose medication, naloxone; providing minority youth in Chicago with a platform to discuss and address social and racial issues in the United States by launching an experiential education program; promoting maternal health in Vietnam by developing a week-long reproductive education series for women led by health care professionals; and combating climate change by encouraging Nigerians to use public transportation though a mobile application.
At the Opening Plenary, Chelsea Clinton kicked off CGI U by telling students, “You all have one thing in common and that’s the desire to make the world a better place. You all refuse to accept the status quo and that’s the camp I want to be in.”
In recognizing new members of the CGI U Honor Roll, who have had significant impact through their commitments, President Bill Clinton said “The alumni of CGI U have not only made remarkable commitments over the years, they have kept them. And in keeping them they are changing lives around the world in innovative ways.”
While speaking at the Closing Plenary, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton urged students to work collaboratively to make a difference, "We have to keep doing what CGI U represents – which is to bring people together who want to be part of solving problems, who want to bring their talent and their energy and their optimism to that task."
Chelsea Clinton also revealed the winner of the CGI U 2018 Commitments Challenge. The competition began on September 17, during which students received private donations from supporters around the world through GoFundMe. In total, students raised more than $40,000 for their commitments. The winners were a group of students from the University of Chicago, whose commitment, SimFilly Foods, raised more than $11,100.
In the lead up to the CGI U meeting, students had the opportunity to participate in a two-day “Codeathon” event co-hosted by CGI U, the CGI Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery, and the Clinton Climate Initiative. Students were challenged to develop digital tools that can increase the effectiveness of response and recovery efforts following natural disasters. Judges included Chelsea Clinton, vice chair, Clinton Foundation; Bob Lord, chief digital officer, IBM; Christine Schindler, president and founder of Girls Engineering Change; former CGI U student; Dawn Walker, director, RainReady Community; and Chris Wheat, chief of policy, Office of the Mayor at City of Chicago. The winning team, Basic Aid Outreach (BAO), recognized at the closing plenary, created a platform that leverages existing social networks, the power of AI, and crowdsourced data to empower local volunteers and agencies to take the lead in delivering aid to victims of natural disasters in Southeast Asia.
CGI U students at this year’s meeting also participated in the Resolution Social Venture Challenge. A collaboration between Clinton Global Initiative University and The Resolution Project, this competition provides a pathway to action for socially responsible young leaders who want to create change that matters. A total of $50,000 was awarded to winning projects, which address a wide range of challenges participants have observed firsthand in their communities, including special education in Chicago Public Schools, menstrual hygiene in Ghana, food waste in India, and much more.
In addition to the Clinton family, throughout the weekend, college students also heard from featured speakers such as Tom Barrett, mayor, Milwaukee; Muzoon Almellehan, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador; Sarah Chadwick, co-founder, March For Our lives; Julio Martinez Ellsberg, member, Nicaraguan Platform for Social Movements and Civil Society Organizations; Helene D. Gayle, president and CEO, The Chicago Community Trust; Susan Herman, president, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); Uzodinma Iweala, CEO, Africa Center; Mai Khoi, independent artist and activist; D’Angelo McDade, executive director, Peace Warrior Organization; Wai Wai Nu, executive director, Women’s Peace Network; Lt. Col. Joe Plenzler, retired Marine Corps combat veteran and co-founder of #VetsForGunReform; Ben Schwerin, vice president of partnerships, Snap Inc.; Astrid Silva, executive director, Dream Big Nevada, among others.
This morning, Chelsea Clinton and Mayor Rahm Emanuel led students in a Day of Action to give back to the Chicago community. First, students gathered to hear remarks from Chelsea Clinton and Mayor Emanuel on the importance of community service. They then dispersed to nine different service sites to complete projects across several community organizations in the South Side, Chicago area. Founded and led by Chelsea Clinton in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Clinton Foundation Day of Action program seeks to create service opportunities and mobilize thousands of volunteers to give back to their communities. To date, the Clinton Foundation has hosted 32 Days of Action in the United States and abroad, which have mobilized more than 7,200 volunteers and donated more than 29,000 volunteer hours.
Support for CGI U 2018 is generously provided by Boeing, Up to Us, Kevin Xu, Chicago Community Trust, and PepsiCo. Additional support for CGI U 2018 is provided by the University of Chicago and the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation.
This is the first year the University of Chicago hosted CGI U. The University of Chicago is a leading academic and research institution where students and scholars are empowered to challenge conventional thinking to solve some of the most pressing challenges of our time. As an intellectual destination, the University draws scholars and students from around the world to its campuses and centers around the globe. The University provides a distinctive educational experience and research environment, enabling individuals to pursue research that shifts paradigms and produces new understandings with global impact.
**The following new commitments and progress reports were announced at CGI U**
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic with Digital Technology
Commitment By: James Lott, Michael Cui, and Maryam Saifuddin
School: University of Chicago
Focus Area: Public Health
Geographic Scope: United States
In 2018, James Lott, Michael Cui, and Maryam Saifuddin committed to build an online platform to safely and discreetly exchange needles and provide access to the opioid overdose medication, naloxone in the United States. The website, Fiduscript, will use a cloud- based pharmacy system to distribute the medication and supplies, and offer tele-counseling resources to patients. They plan to partner with pharmacies, health care providers, and local safety authorities to grow their patient members. James, Michael, and Maryam hope to nationally increase naloxone availability and substance abuse counseling and decrease the number of opioid-related deaths.
Commitment By: Rebecca Castillo and Ariana Hoshino
School: Swarthmore College
Focus Area: Education
Geographic Scope: United States
In 2018, Rebecca Castillo and Ariana Hoshino committed to create an arts and media literacy after-school program for high school students in Chester, Penn. The program will teach students film, photography, and writing skills to produce content on social issues affecting their communities. Students will produce multimedia content. The pair will partner with local community access media and digital production training centers to provide students with a platform to share their content with a broader audience. Rebecca and Ariana expect to welcome their first students by the end of 2018.
Safe Climate for Nigeria
Commitment By: Joshua Borokinni
School: University of Benin
Focus Area: Environment and Climate Change
Geographic Scope: Nigeria
In 2018, Joshua Borokinni committed to create a mobile application that mitigates fossil-fueled transportation and promotes the use of integrated public transportation systems to help users make low-carbon choices in Nigeria. Joshua will engage with government and community leaders to promote responsible environmental choices and train users on how to utilize the app. He expects to have his mobile application launched by 2019.
Manganya Matatu Community Centres
Commitment By: Brent Kokonya
School: Kenyatta University
Focus Area: Poverty Alleviation
Geographic Scope: Kenya
In 2018, Brent Kokonya committed to convert abandoned buses into community centers to decrease pollution and enhance community life in Nairobi, Kenya. Brent will work with local auto repair shops, community-based NGOs, and graffiti artists to convert buses into stationary coffee shops, libraries, farmers markets, and art exhibits, removing dangerous or toxic parts of the vehicle while surveying community leaders to best utilize the space to serve local Kenyans. He expects to refurbish eight buses in two Nairobi districts within four years.
Commitment By: Annette Gonzalez, Ana Esquea, and Karen Stark
School: Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra
Focus Area: Peace and Human Rights
Geographic Scope: Dominican Republic
In 2018, Annette González, Ana Esquea, and Karen Stark committed to create a social and political movement to reduce the gender pay gap in the Dominican Republic. The team will use social media to create awareness about the existing pay gap and gain support for a national awareness day. They plan to partner with local businesses, corporations, and local leaders to achieve a formal declaration committed to ensuring equal pay as part of their practices. Annette, Ana, and Karen hope that their Equal Pay Pact will help to reduce that wage gap to under 10 percent by 2024.
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