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Students to Make Commitments, Attend Clinton Global Initiative University

March 31, 2016 – Thirteen Georgetown students will be among the 1,000 innovation leaders attending the prestigious 2016 Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) meeting at the University of California, Berkeley, April 1-3.

The ninth annual meeting, hosted by former President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, invites student leaders to make Commitments to Action in CGI U's five focus areas: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation and Public Health and potentially receive funding.

Students are invited to the meeting based on their Commitments to Action, which are “new, specific, and measurable initiatives that address pressing challenges on campus, in local communities, or around the world.”  

The Clinton Global Initiative gathers leaders to take action on global challenges. In 2007, former President Bill Clinton launched CGI U to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the globe.

Developing Passion

“CGI U helped me develop my passion for social entrepreneurship,” says Febin Bellamy (B’17), who is among 13 students attending the meeting and is serving as Georgetown’s student representative. “Throughout my involvement in CGIU, I've met so many like-minded students who are just as interested in implementing positive change in our communities. Honestly I can say that attending the conference in 2014 was a life-changing experience.” 

Each student accepted to CGI U must propose a project. Through the CGI University Network and other opportunities, more than $900,000 in funding will be available to select CGI U 2016 students to help them turn their ideas into action. 

The commitment-makers also will be given the chance to receive complimentary membership at other CGI meetings, including the CGI America meeting in June and the CGI Annual Meeting in September. These meetings attract business, nonprofit and government leaders from around the world who offer valuable opportunities for CGI U students to network, share best practices and explore partnerships.

Taking Action

Other students attending the event include Sarah AbdulRazak (G’18), Jennifer Ding​ (C’17), Hannah Gerdes (SFS’16), Amin Gharad (C’16), Joseph Lanzilla (SFS’16), Alex Luta (C’16), Rocio Mondragon Reyes (SFS’19), Sebastian Nicholls (SFS’16), Katherine Schmidt (SFS’18), Diego Tum-Monge (C’19), Martin Vanin (SFS’17) and Alexander Wheeler (C’17).

Bellamy, whose project raising money for medical supplies in India got him invited to the 2014 CGI U meeting, says CGI U challenges students to be innovative and entrepreneurial.

“CGI U empowers students to take actions into their own hands,” he says. “The speakers at the conference make it apparent that you don't have to wait until you're older to make an impact on the world. Many of the students that I've met at CGIU have done amazing work by creating organizations that help tackle a variety of social issues in developing countries around the world. “

There are also opportunities for students to obtain seed funding and meet investors to fund new projects or organizations.

Portraits of Humanity

Just Save One - Project India, which Bellamy started with three others when he attended Rockland Community College and continued after he transferred to Georgetown, raised about $5,000 worth of medical supplies for three hospitals in Goa.

Bellamy’s new project is Unsung Heroes – an organization promoting awareness and appreciation for the “unsung heroes” of college campuses - employees who often work behind the scenes to ensure that universities running smoothly, safely and efficiently.

“We seek to highlight their portraits of humanity by sharing their unique personal stories through photography, dialogue and marketing,” Bellamy says. “We plan to get to know them better as individuals and create a stronger bond between the students and the workers.”  

Other student Commitments to Action include Luta, Gharad, Lanzilla’s Students Applying Technology and Coding for Human Rights, which unites and empowers students, professors, NGOs and multinational corporations to use geospatial technology to advance human rights globally.

Another commitment, by Wheeler, Ding and Vanin, involves economic empowerment and reintegration through microfinance of demobilized members of FARC, the notorious guerrilla movement in Colombia. 

“I am thrilled that we have 13 students who will attend the prestigious Clinton Global Institute University meeting,” says Chris Murphy, vice president for government relations and community engagement, and CGI U's campus liaison. “These students and their projects are wonderful examples of our Jesuit tradition of men and women for others striving to change the world for the better.”