Students Attending Clinton’s Initiative – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Students Attending Clinton’s Initiative

Anna Dorman ’14 and Brianne Ellis ’13 have been selected to attend the fourth annual Clinton Global Initiative University at University of California, San Diego, from April 1-3. Former President Bill Clinton launched the University in 2007, modeled after the Clinton Global Initiative which brings together world leaders to take action on global challenges. The organization brings together university students from around the world to tackle the same issues and to train the next generation of world leaders. Dorman and Ellis applied separately.

This year there will be nearly 1,200 attendees from around the world. All participants have been working on individual projects, known as Commitments to Action, focusing on education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights and public health.

Commitments range from installing energy-efficient light bulbs to establishing campus bike share programs, from distributing life-saving water filtration kits to designing medical backpacks for nomadic doctors in Africa. Since the inaugural meeting in 2008, nearly 3,000 commitments have been made.

“I would like to develop, create and initiate a series of practical and innovative training sessions that promote the much needed economic and social leadership for poor women living in impoverished communities.  I want to instill confidence, self-esteem, civic participation, interpersonal relations, relationship building, and self-worth and give each girl a positive outlook on life,” explains Ellis in her plan of action’s brief. “I would travel to Roatan, Honduras to teach courses on these topics and more, as well as stress the importance of applying the talents and knowledge they obtained at school to develop effective community leadership. My hope would be to develop lesson plans that ensure that each girl will feel confident and successful enough that they will choose the alternative path that is not laid down by poverty; rather by remaining in school, staying healthy and maintaining skills that will earn her an income, she will have the tools to fight the odds stacked up against her.” 

Of her Commitment to Action, Dorman says, “Through my coursework at HWS I have begun to focus on the global issue of water distribution in some of the poorest countries in the world. It is impossible to decrease global poverty, increase literacy or even have economic development if people are spending the majority of their day traveling miles upon miles to get dirty water. My Commitment to Action involves both fundraising on campus and changes in policy that would raise money to send PUR Purifier of Water packets to children and families in sub-Saharan Africa. These packets are around 10 cents each and can purify 10 liters of water in 20 minutes, enough for a family for a day. They are incredibly cheap and are easy to transport which makes them the ideal option for rural populations. After the initial campaign is kicked off, I will work with the Colleges so that when there are decreases in costs due to increased sustainability on campus the savings will go to the Right to Water project.”

The 2011 Global Initiative will be arranged around plenary sessions, working sessions, and skill sessions, all of which allow members to interact with one another and formulate commitments and productive partnerships.

The trip is being funded collaboratively by the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning and Centennial Center for Leadership.