Five students. Three projects. One goal.
Global change is on the mind of students from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), five of which will travel to this year’s Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) conference in Phoenix.
Students Erin Smith, Laura Holly, Jody-Ann Coore and Cindy Raders will each share their projects known as “commitment to action” at the CGIU Conference with over 1,000 university students around the world, beginning Friday, March 21 and running through Sunday, March 23. Sister Rosemary Arrah, an education graduate student who attended last year’s conference, will serve as UNO’s lead student representative.
CGIU builds on the model of the Clinton Global Initiative, which brings together world leaders to take action on global challenges. CGIU, which was founded in 2007 and is run by Chelsea Clinton, brings together future leaders from college campuses around the world to address those same problems.
Beginning in 2014, UNO joined approximately 50 other universities as a member of CGIU’s consortium and the only Nebraska school in the network. Combining two of UNO’s strategic priorities, global engagement and student research, the CGIU conference is one of the year’s key events.
This year six projects were submitted for a chance to attend CGIU, with three being selected. The student projects for this year’s conference are:
Health in Your Hands
Organized by Laura Holly, this project is designed to create 25,000 educational pamphlets that will be distributed to approximately 28 health clinics in Benin, Africa. The goal of the pamphlets will be to enhance public education and encourage preventative health practices.
Assisting a Miracle on Rishiskesh
Organized by Erin Smith, this project expands upon the income-generation opportunities offered by the nonprofit group Mother Miracle in India. Assisting a Miracle will provide opportunities for the products made by the women of Rishiskesh to also be sustainable.
Reading for Freedom
Organized by Jody Ann-Coore and Cindy Raders, this project is an expansion of UNO’s Reading Drive program with the goal of positively changing the literacy rates of juvenile offenders in Douglas County. The goal will be to create a reading/mentoring club for the Douglas Country Youth Center.
The remaining projects, while not being shared at the CGIU conference this year, will continue with support from UNO. These projects are:
Reading Drive for Africa
Organized by Sr. Rosemary Arrah, this program is designed to provide access to books in schools across Africa. The goal this year is raising 10,000 books and establishing four new libraries by the end of 2014.
Trash to Treasure
Organized by Marin Krause, this project is designed to collect 6,500 plastic bottles in the Midwest to form “eco-bricks”. These bricks will journey to the island of Madagascar to solve global challenges such as conservation, ecosystem management, education, and local and global waste management.
Future Leaders Program (FLP)
Designed by Khalid Almashikhi to train 10,000 youths in Oman, this program combines hands-on education and meaningful service. At FLP students develop the ability to explore more deeply, think critically and express ideas clearly and creatively across many challenges. The goal of FLP is to create informed citizens of Oman and the world.
Last year, three UNO students, including Arrah, traveled to St. Louis as part of the 2013 CGIU conference. The experience allowed the students to launch Reading Drive for Africa and begin establishing libraries in Cameroon, as well as other countries in Africa.
Keynote speakers for this year’s conference include Jimmy Kimmel, Sen. John McCain, Rep. Gabriel Giffords, Chelsea Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton.
The UNO chapter of CGIU is a program directed through UNO's Office of Civic and Social Responsibility.
For more information on UNO’s role in this year’s CGIU conference, please contact Charley Reed, UNO media relations coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 402.554.2129.
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