By: Kelsey Pinault (University of Miami)
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Having a university president who was the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services for eight years, as well as a director of UnitedHealth Group for six years definitely has its perks. Tomorrow, The University of Miami’s president Donna E. Shalala will be bringing former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, to hold his third annual Clinton Global Initiative University Meeting.
CGI U was introduced in 2007 by Clinton in attempts to better involve the voices of the future with pressing global issues from universities across the country. This year the University of Miami is expecting 1,000 students, nearly 100 college and university presidents, youth organizations, athletes, and celebrity-activists. Some big names the students in Coral Gables can expect are Usher Raymond, Alonzo Mourning, Mandy Moore, Heather Graham, and more.
The purpose of the conference is to focus on current global issues and work towards solutions. In order to participate in a commitment to action for the CGI U, the program must approve the students first. As the university’s website describes, these students then represent the schools and programs of UM and “seek to make a difference by addressing a variety of important issues, such as education, health, and intercultural communication.” This year Miami has 27 individual participants and 12 group participants for both graduate and undergraduate students.
The global challenges CGI U is currently focusing on include: Education, Environment & Climate Change, Peace & Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health. One graduate student, Scott Fuhrman, is focusing on the poverty alleviation topic with his plan for “Low-Income Housing Energy Efficiency”. He described the objective of the plan as to “raise funds in order to upgrade low-income housing across South Florida with energy-efficient fixtures and low-flow water appliances. I will use my extensive fundraising contacts from my time as a fundraiser in the Democratic Party to facilitate the fundraising process, and I will use my local contacts with Habitat for Humanity to locate low-income families for the project.”
Although these projects must have been approved prior to the meeting tomorrow, any student, faculty, staff or invited guest is welcome to attend the Opening Plenary. The Clinton Global Initiative University Meeting will be held at the Bank United Center on campus from 5:00-6:30 p.m., Friday, April 16th.