Press Releases

President Clinton Announces Impact of Student and University Commitments to Action at Second Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) Meeting at The University of Texas at Austin

February 14, 2009

Austin, TX - President Bill Clinton today opened the second Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) at The University of Texas at Austin by announcing new projects that students and universities are undertaking to improve the world.

CGI U builds on the successful model of the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year, to engage college students and administrators to make commitments to address global issues with practical, innovative solutions.

"Through Clinton Global Initiative University, students and universities have made more than 1,600 commitments that affect hundreds of thousands of lives and make a difference in their communities and worldwide," President Clinton said. "Our meeting this year at The University of Texas at Austin displays the power young people and institutions of higher education have to positively impact the global challenges we face."

The CGI U Meeting, under sponsorship of Student Government at The University of Texas at Austin, convened nearly 1,000 college students and nearly 100 university presidents, as well as leading non-profit organizations, social entrepreneurs, and youth leaders. Other attendees included NFL All-Star Nnamdi Asomugha, FSU Student-Athlete Myron Rolle, the Daily Show's John Oliver, Matthew McConaughey, Natalie Portman, Luke Russert, and Morgan Spurlock.

"UT is delighted to host the Clinton Global Initiative University on our campus," said William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin. "This conference promises to inform and inspire young people from across the country. And these young people will, in turn, take that information and inspiration back to their own campuses and communities."

"Student Government is very honored to host President Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative University, said Keshav Rajagopalan, Student Body President at The University of Texas at Austin. "Young people are driven and encouraged by the thought of effecting change in today's world, and CGI U is the place where the commitments to these changes will begin. It is uplifting to know we have so many students who care about making a difference."

The CGI U Meeting schedule consisted of several working sessions and discussions devoted to five focus areas: education, energy & climate change, global health, human rights & peace, and poverty alleviation. Over the course of the day, President Clinton announced several exemplary commitments made by both students and universities, descriptions of which are included below. Prior to attending the meeting, students and faculty submitted proposals on their plans to take action on these issues.

Commitments ranged from small actions with big impacts, such as installing energy-efficient light bulbs in low-income homes, to more ambitious projects such as rebuilding schools in war-stricken regions of Sudan. Students will carry out these projects over the coming months and years, and report back to CGI U on their progress and results.

President Clinton announced that as a result of commitments made by students in 2008 at the inaugural CGI U Meeting at Tulane University in New Orleans:

  • More than 26,000 university students and 2,000 university faculty and staff became actively engaged in efforts to promote clean energy, mitigate climate change, alleviate poverty, improve global health, and promote human rights and peace.
  • More than 74,000 members of the university community were reached by educational efforts and outreach about clean energy, environmental awareness, and sustainability.
  • More than 3,800 new recycling containers were placed on college campuses and in the surrounding community.
  • Students raised $260,000 for humanitarian relief, and more than 2,500 refugees received assistance.
  • Students raised $375,000 to fund scholarships and collected more than $100,000 worth of educational resources including books, laptops, uniforms, and pencils for students in need.
  • Students raised $354,000 to fund global health programs and have reached over 70,000 people with healthcare and social services.

On Sunday, February 15, President Clinton will join CGI U Meeting attendees in a community service project at the Rosewood Park and Recreation Center in East Austin. They will work with students from The University of Texas at Austin to take part in a wide range of community service activities.

Students not in attendance at The University of Texas at Austin were able to follow the meeting live via webcast, and can make their own commitments online by visiting

Commitments announced by President Clinton at CGI U are listed below. All commitments from CGI U 2009 are online here.

About Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U)
CGI U, a project of Clinton Global Initiative, challenges college students and universities to address global problems with practical, innovative solutions. At the CGI U Meeting, young people and universities do more than simply discuss the world's challenges – they take concrete steps toward solving them. To learn more, visit

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 100 current and former heads of state, 14 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, hundreds of leading global CEOs, heads of foundations and major philanthropists, directors of the most effective non-governmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made more than 1,300 commitments valued at $46 billion, which have already impacted more than 200 million lives in 150 countries. Commitments made at the 2008 Annual Meeting are expected to affect almost 160 million people. CGI will hold its Fifth Anniversary Meeting from September 22-25, 2009 in New York City.

Anybody can make their own Commitment to Action at

For more information please visit

Below are among the commitments announced at CGI U in Austin:

Working with various professors at Stanford University, Lucky Gunasekara, a graduate student from the Stanford School of Medicine, is committing to develop a $1 HIV test - which currently costs about $20 - that can easily be used and accessed by health workers in developing countries. It has the potential to reduce HIV/AIDS treatment costs dramatically in poor and underserved communities.

Joseph Quinnell and Susan Perri, undergraduate students at University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, commit to maintain and expand a program which seeks to address human trafficking worldwide by providing an American higher education to stateless individuals. Following the completion of the four year program, the students have committed to returning to Thailand to work with other victims of human trafficking.

WeCycle, Inc. commits to use a community-based approach to change current behaviors in large cities, and emphasize the importance of public recycling efforts in mitigating the impacts of climate change. WeCycle will do this by selling advertising on recycling bins to stimulate individual recycling efforts throughout New York City, and then connect community members with environmental organizations, enabling them to decide how their donations - from advertising proceeds - will be used.

In partnership with ODPS, a local Bolivian NGO, Ximena Murillo commits to create "Community Centers" for 1,500 local underserved women from 10 different mining communities in Bolivia. These community centers will help provide women with education and training opportunities that will empower them and provide them with the means to escape poverty.

Wayne State University commits to develop a network of public schools in Detroit that will serve students from Pre-Kindergarten to grade 12, in an effort to improve the quality of public education in Detroit and better prepare students for higher education. This commitment will reach at least 15,000 students and teachers, and indirectly improve the lives of 500,000 people.

In collaboration with CGI U, the United Nations Association of the Dominican Republic commits to integrate Dominican and Haitian universities in the CGI U community, enabling 31 Dominican and Haitian students to participate in CGI U's 2009 annual meeting to develop a series of Commitments to Action that aim to address Haiti's poverty and development challenges.

Mercer University is committing to initiate and sustain a three year program that provides universal socket prosthetics for amputees in developing countries, in an effort to improve their health and economic well-being.

Mark Arnoldy, an undergraduate student at the University of Colorado, Boulder, commits to produce and distribute peanut butter-based nutritional food to underserved, local communities in the Karnali region of Nepal, in an effort to eliminate acute malnutrition, aspiring to reach 100,000 people by 2010.

Owl Microfinance of Rice University commits to raise $10,000 by the end of 2009 to provide microfinance loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries, in an effort to enhance their economic and social well-being. They will work with at least 50 entrepreneurs in the developing world by providing loans through a network of 500 donors.

FACE AIDS, along with its partners, commits to provide recent college graduates with paid, year-long fellowships to work with organizations providing healthcare services in developing countries. In its first year of operation, this commitment will improve the lives of 120,000 people.

Chanukya Dasari and Birju Solanki, a graduate student and an undergraduate student, respectively, from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, commit to create a strong network of eye care professionals who will provide treatment to hundreds of uninsured individuals at Kansas City's new Free Eye Clinic.

Marialena Rivera and Pegah Javidpour, graduate students from Pace University commit to partner with various local middle schools to provide extra services and support to students from migrant farm workers. They aim to establish a charter school for such students, in an effort to provide them with more educational opportunities.

Center for Global Engagement, along with its partners, commit to support more than 1,500 students working on community development projects in over 14 countries, expected to improve the lives of more than 130,000 people.


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