UM hosts third Clinton Global Initiative

The University of Miami is set to join the ranks of schools like Tulane University and the University of Texas at Austin later this month as it takes on the responsibility of hosting the third annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU).

Following the initial success of the Clinton Global Initiative in 2005, President Bill Clinton launched the CGIU in 2007 as a means for students from across the country to create and execute their biggest and best community service endeavors.

“I started CGI in 2005 to help turn good intentions into real action and results,” said President Clinton, according to the program’s Web site.

CGIU will come to the Coral Gables campus of the University of Miami next week from April 16 until April 18.

Each year, CGIU hosts a meeting in which students, national youth and university officials discuss solutions to global issues concerning CGIU’s five focus areas: education, environmental and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation and public health.

In order to contribute to CGIU, however, students are required to develop “commitments to action,” or service initiatives dedicated to bringing about change to their college campuses, their hometowns and other communities from across the globe.

The University of Miami will serve as more than just the host of this impressive event, however. This April, UM will also execute its own CGIU personal commitment to action in the form of a book, food and supply drive dedicated to supporting the South Miami-Dade Center for the Homeless.

“The book drive became more all-encompassing the further we went to put it all together,” said Michael Schick of the undergraduate Honor Council.

Although the commitment to action has largely been planned by the Honor Council and students like Schick and Kartik Telekuntla who attended CGIU 2009 in Austin, student organizations like Lead Serve, LINK, Give Back Week and STRIVE have combined forces to help make this event into a true success.

“It’s been a collaborative effort,” Schick said.

Last week, members of the Honor Council tabled in the UC breezeway in order to help raise funds. Students who made a donation of even one dollar got to sign their name on a paper “U” to be hung up on a banner in the University Center for the duration of the fundraiser.

Sophomore Matt Janes stopped by the table last Friday in order to help contribute to the initiative.

“It gives [the homeless] the opportunity to read and to experience literature,” Janes said.

UM has yet to count the total monetary donations, but as of Sunday it is estimated that the on-campus community raised over $1,000.

“This shows the initiative of UM students to go above and beyond those who are even involved in CGIU,” Schick said.

Additionally, anonymous members of the Coral Gables community have donated more than $30,000 worth of books.

The office of the president and the dean of students office have also offered to donate books to the drive.

Monetary donations will continue to be accepted in the breezeway through Monday, April 12. If you have books, food or supplies that you would like to donate to the commitment to action, there are bins located in each of the residential colleges.

Sarah Hartnig may be contacted at

For additional information or for ways to contribute, contact the Butler Center for Service and Leadership at 305-284-4483.