Four UT students participated in the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative University conference which took place at Arizona State University March 21–23.
Seniors Brianna Rader and Jacob Clark, sophomore Summer Awad, and freshman Anagha Uppal were among more than 1,000 students who were chosen to attend because of their innovative social ventures aimed at confronting some of the world’s most urgent challenges. Rader and Awad are from Knoxville; Clark is from Clarksville, Tennessee; and Uppal is from Halls, Tennessee.
The seventh annual event was hosted by former president Bill Clinton, former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton, and featured guests including US senator John McCain, former US representative Gabrielle Giffords, and comedian Jimmy Kimmel.
As part of CGI U, the students had the opportunity to network and share ideas for initiatives with a potentially global impact. Rader, Clark, and Awad came up with the concept of a mobile application that would supply users with comprehensive and positive sex education. The idea was inspired by the three students’ involvement in the formation and implementation of UT’s Sex Week.
Uppal, a computer science major, proposed ideas for a more socially responsible way for universities to handle excess food waste in an effort to address issues of food scarcity in local communities.
The students said attending CGI U was an invaluable experience.
“We were able to network with other change makers who are on the frontiers of their field,” Rader said. “We learned creative ways to fundraise, and we openly discussed the importance of sex education with directors of multiple AIDS foundations. It meant a lot to us that CGI U recognized us at a ceremony for special commitments, and we received priceless feedback.
“Hearing leaders like Hillary Clinton and Manal al-Sharif was special because they spoke candidly about global issues like women’s rights and Syria. It was a rare opportunity for which we are thankful,” she said.
Clark agreed: “It was refreshing to see so many other college students working to change the world for the better. The level of creativity and intelligence at the conference was incredible. The Clintons are a dynamic family, and it was encouraging to see them and other political figures speak candidly about important national and international issues.”
The Clinton Global Initiative University was launched in 2007 by former president Clinton as an effort to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world. The annual event brings together hundreds of students to make a difference in its five focus areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health.
For more information about the Clinton Global Initiative University, visit cgiu.org, or contact UT’s Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships, firstname.lastname@example.org.
C O N T A C T :
Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, email@example.com)