Creating Action Plans to Change World: Students Attend Clinton Global Initiative University

Above, CGI U participants gather at the airport before their flight to Miami. Students, from left to right, are Scovia Aweko ’17, Shrijan Amatya ’18, Molly Dwyer ’16, Abdullah Mahdi ’18, Suravi Shrestha ’16, Shirshak Aryal ’16, Binju Gaire ’16, Bishesh Lal Shrestha ’16, and Joseph Opoku ’18.

In early March, 10 Westminster College students traveled to Miami, Florida to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U). Built on the successful model of the Clinton Global Initiative, which brings together world leaders to take action on global challenges, President Clinton launched the CGI U in 2007 to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world.

This year in Miami, more than 1,000 innovative student leaders were chosen to create action plans in five areas of focus: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health. Students were also given the chance to pursue more than $900,000 in funding opportunities to help students grow their projects.

Molly Dwyer '16 (left) with Binju Gaire '16 (right)

Molly Dwyer ’16 (left) with Binju Gaire ’16 (right)

“CGIU is one of my favorite weekends of the year,” says Molly Dwyer ’16. “It provides a great opportunity for me to discuss global problems and solutions with my peers.”

Students who attended the event learned effective ways of performing social service and were able to listen to successful leaders from various backgrounds speak about service. CGI U speakers included President Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Rachael Chong, and Seth Maxwell. Students also attended sessions to learn about ways to effectively implement their projects.

Westminster students share their conference lunch break together.

Westminster students share their conference lunch break together.

“CGI U is a great platform to learn about the on-going issues around the world,” says Suravi Shrestha ’16. “It is an opportunity to not only commit to social changes, but to also meet people your age to learn what they are doing. It is surprising what the current generation is doing to bring positive changes in the world. The conference has further inspired me to work harder on my commitment. It opened my eyes to learn what possibilities and opportunities we have as students to make our projects possible. Additionally, seeing President Clinton on stage was inspiring in itself.”

Bishesh Shrestha '16, Molly Dwyer '16, Binju Gaire '16, Suravi Shrestha '16, and Aryal Shirshak '16 gather for a group picture in Florida.

Bishesh Shrestha ’16, Molly Dwyer ’16, Binju Gaire ’16, Suravi Shrestha ’16, and Aryal Shirshak ’16 gather for a group picture in Florida.

The following Westminster students attended the 2015 CGI U: Bishesh Lal Shrestha ’16, Molly Dwyer ’16, Suravi Shrestha ’16, Binju Gaire ’16, Shirshak Aryal ’16, Shambhavi Natarajan ’16, Scovia Aweko ’17, Joseph Opoku ’18, Shrijan Amatya ’18, and Abdullah Mahdi ’18.

Among these, Scovia Aweko ’17 was selected to participate in the semi-final round of the Resolution Projects, and Binju Gaire ’16 and Shirshak Aryal ’16 were recognized for their commitment to action during one of the sessions.

Did you know?

In 2013, Westminster’s Yangmali Rai ’14 attended CGI U. His project was one of only nine projects out of 600 competitive presentations from 75 different countries and all 50 states to win seed money funding. Learn about his award-winning program that is making a difference in the lives of women and children in Nepal.

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