Student Participating in Clinton Global Initiative University
April 4, 2011 – A Georgetown student is spreading the word about his work on global water issues during this year’s Clinton Global Initiative University April 1-4.
Mark Svensson (C’12) is working at the weekend event on the Water Justice Alliance (WJA) with former classmates Marvin Mathew and Stan Morodokhin from SUNY-Rockland Community College. The alliance is designed to help provide clean water to communities in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
“For $14 we’re able to provide one individual with guaranteed clean water for a year,” Svensson said of the WJA, which provides water filter shipments to areas in need. “To us, if we could even have that impact on one person, it’s a success.”
The Clinton Global Initiative University started in 2007, building upon President Bill Clinton’s (F’68) successful Clinton Global Initiative, which brings together world leaders to take on global challenges.
The “university” brings together students and national youth organizers to discuss five pressing global issues – education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation and public health.
Svensson said 10 students from Georgetown attended this year’s conference.
As the campus representative to the event, Svensson said he was able to run WJA through the Georgetown University Student Association with the support of outgoing president Calen Angert.
“Once I got to Georgetown, I knew I definitely wanted to continue my involvement,” he said. “There are so many student groups and students here who have really great intentions and are looking to turn their intentions to real change.”
White House Summit
Svensson, who participated in the first White House Summit on Community Colleges this past October, said he and his friends have been able to expand his work to other colleges.
“It doesn’t take much to really make a difference,” he said. “To be able to get and education, help other people out along the way, it’s really tremendous.”
Svensson got involved with CGIU during his time in community college. He attended last year on the subject of human trafficking and had his work featured in a breakout session.
He also met with Kevin Bales, president of Free the Slaves, a non-governmental organization dedicated to ending the modern practice of slavery, after a breakout session.
“It’s that kind of expertise that really excites me, being able to engage with experts from the field and also other fellow students whose commitments are really amazing,” Svensson said.
Participants this year’s event include former President Bill Clinton, All-Pro NFL cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, actress Drew Barrymore and Blue Legacy International founder Alexandra Cousteau (C’98). Past participants include Bill Gates, President Barack Obama and Warren Buffett.
“To be able to see [President Clinton] bring all these people together is really remarkable,” Svensson said.