Brianne Ellis ’13, David Luna ’14 and Sara Wroblewski ’13 are currently in attendance at the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU), participating in the four day conference at George Washington University with more than 1,200 students from around the world. Designed by President Bill Clinton, the conference for college students focuses on addressing current global issues and developing leadership skills.
Structured after the Clinton Global Initiative, which brings together world leaders to take action on global challenges, CGIU was developed in 2007 to engage younger voices in the same issues. Now in its fifth year, the CGIU is comprised of a series of meetings and panels that seek to educate the next generation of leaders.
Ellis ’13, who attended the conference last year, was one of a select few previous attendees asked to return to the CGIU to present a video of the plan she submitted on her work in Honduras. Ellis spent the summer in Honduras as an intern with the Hope for Honduran Children Foundation. She stayed at the Nuevo Paraiso village, which is home to more than 150 orphans, helping to distribute materials and school supplies to poverty stricken schools and orphanages.
“The greatest lesson I learned was, ideas are important but the magnitude of acting on that idea can have a great success towards social change,” said Ellis.
Both Luna and Wroblewski were asked to complete a Commitment to Action plan, which outlined a plan to implement change on campus, in the community or throughout the world.
Luna has created a project called “Engaged for Change” that focuses on opening communication pathways for political activism in his hometown of Cliffside Park, N.J. Through the dissemination of information and training courses, Luna hopes to nurture democratic participation and cultivate civic competencies.
“I believe political education is where it all begins for an individual to competently interact with his surroundings,” explains Luna. “Politics gives individuals the utensils, both socially and mentally, to modify the status quo. Those who feel that government is unconcerned with the plight of the ‘common man,’ should become involved. Through voting and participating in government, people can understand and effectively address the “common man’s struggle to be heard.”
“Through attending CGIU, I seek to engage in an ideas networking forum where I can make relationships with – and learn from – individuals who can hone my commitment through their resource assistance and criticism,” he said.
Wroblewski’s plan is one that much of the campus is familiar with, thanks in part to her participation in “The Pitch,” the Colleges’ first entrepreneurial competition. Through her moving story, Wroblewski introduced the community to the Oloosirkon School in Nairobi. Wroblewski’s project One Bead, which sells one-of-a-kind glass beads created by a local Nairobi glass blower, is an initiative designed to raise money to provide electricity, locks and supplies for the school.
“The deep desire to learn and the passion for life are already in these students,” said Wroblewski. “It is a matter of providing them with the tools for success.”
The photo above features David Luna ’14 and Sara Wroblewski ’13 before they left for the Clinton Global Initiative University.