UNO Students Take Projects to Clinton Global Initiative Conference

Day-of-ActionFrom Friday, March 6th through Sunday, March 8th, students from across the country will travel to the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative University conference, held on the University of Miami Campus near Coral Gables.

Each year, CGI U hosts a meeting designed to inspire and create a community of students making specific commitments to create global changes. This year, President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton will host 1,100 students who are actively working to make a difference in Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health. CGI U was launched in 2007, based off the model of the Clinton Global Initiative, bringing together world leaders to take action on global challenges.

Students who attend the conference create “Commitments to Action”, in other words, new, specific, or measurable initiatives that work to address challenges on campus, local communities, or around the world. Past projects have ranged from manufacturing wheelchairs for developing countries to establishing campus bike share programs, to creating free vision clinics to developing e-learning applications for mobile phones. The common thread amongst all of these, and the point of the conference, is to show students that their actions matter, and what they create can truly change the world.

This year, five of these world-changers will be students from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and one alumna currently at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The six students will present three projects dealing with STEM education, mentorship, and animal welfare. This is the third year that Nebraska students will represent at the conference, taking the opportunity to network with like-minded students and organizations that could help fund their project. And as part of the conference, students will be able to hear speakers like actress and producer America Ferrera, former Norway Prime Minister Go Harlem Brundtland, and University of Miami President Donna Shalala. According to WOWT, UNO became the first Nebraska school to join the CGI U Network as one of only fifty member universities from around the world.

A particularly fascinating project is one to bring science alive, organized by UNO alumni Larisa Akah and current students Amissabah Johnson and Ryan Nielson. Bring Science Alive fits the mission of many manufacturers and educators today in the goal to improve literacy and scholarship, especially in the sciences. Their project targets Africa with prepackaged science projects that can be used to convey scientific concepts to school children in a part of the world that does not have easy access to these types of materials. Packages like these will make it easier for teachers to convey important scientific concepts. This initiative is actually a subgroup of an organization formed out of the first UNO project sent to CGI U in 2013, Readingdrive for Africa.

To learn more about the other projects or how to submit to the conference next year, check out this WOWT article. Congratulations to these talented students, and we are proud to have representatives of Nebraska STEM at the conference

photo credit: CGIU 2014 Day of Action via