Students put ideas to work thanks to Clinton Global Initiative University


In an effort to change some of the world’s most pressing issues, the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) is reaching out to college students from around the globe to teach them how to improve on their individual philanthropic commitments.

Recently, 15 University of Miami students as well as President Donna E. Shalala attended the CGIU meeting which took place last month on the University of Texas-Austin campus.

The meeting brought together more than 1,000 university students from across the globe as well as university administrators to learn, network and share ideas.

Ivette Cardelli, a UM nursing senior, said she started a nonprofit that assists medical clinics in Mexico after a recent eye-opening trip.

“The networking at the CGIU was key,” she said.

The CGIU was started by the William J. Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative in 2007 as a way to inspire and educate future leaders. It reaches out to college students who have ideas and activist projects that will invoke change on their campus, in their communities and around the planet.

The meeting focused on five key areas: education, global warming, world health, human rights and poverty reduction. Seminars and workshops were held to address the issues and give the students tools in order to work through examples of successful as well as ineffective projects.

“They are definitely eager to help and see your projects succeed,” Cardelli said.

For two years, Pamela Jackson had been thinking of starting a project that helps people in West Africa through education of chronic disease and nutrition. She did not know how to bring her ideas to life. Then she saw a promotion for the Clinton Global Initiative University in the Ibis newsletter last year and decided to apply.

“They gave me the framework to solidify my ideas to make them work,” Jackson said.

Evian White, a second-year law student at UM who has started the Justice for Juveniles Resource Center, said the program gave her a foundation of support on how to build programs and maintain them in the long run.

“CGIU takes you to the next level in your efforts by learning fundraising, volunteer recruitment and program sustainability,” White said.

Derick Schesser, a UM senior studying mechanical engineering and math, said his commitment to solar energy on campus has gotten a lot more attention since the initiative. He has noticed more publicity for his project as well as more student interest.

CGIU begins accepting applications in December. All university students who have ideas or projects they are currently involved are encouraged to apply online at

“No idea is too small, giving is giving,” Cardilli said. “All you need is a passion for your commitment and a willingness to follow through, and I will definitely be applying again next year.”