Students to represent ASU at Clinton Global Initiative University

ASU students have applied and been selected to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) from April 5-7. ASU is one of 33 colleges and universities that joined the CGI U Network and has committed to support, mentor and provide seed funding to ASU student entrepreneurs.

Clinton Global Initiative University was launched to bring together the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world. Students who attend CGI U will have the opportunity to meet with fellow student entrepreneurs and build a network of like-minded individuals. To attend the meeting, students must develop a Commitment to Action plan that addresses a specific challenge in one of the five focus areas: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health.

The 2013 meeting, hosted at Washington University in St. Louis by President Clinton, draws in students, youth organizations, topic experts and celebrities to discuss global challenges and solutions.

At CGI U, “March Madness” is not about basketball: 16 entrepreneurs are going head to head in an ideas competition decided by public vote. Davier Rodriguez’s ASU DREAMzone was selected as a top 16 Commitment to Action. Davier Rodriguez, a graduate student pursuing a Master’s in Education and Public Administration, aims to use DREAMzone to establish a national network of allies for undocumented students as well as offer a four-hour certification course that breaks down preconceived notions of undocumented students and educates participants. 

Rodriguez co-founded DREAMzone, in part, because he believes “university faculty, staff and administrators have an obligation to serve our student body, and that obligation includes having an understanding of the experiences and needs of all students, especially our most vulnerable.” DREAMzone just moved on to the top 8 bracket of solutions and anyone can vote to help advance the commitment to the semifinals at until April 1.

The other ASU delegates who will attend CGI U are members of interdisciplinary teams committed to collaboration and teamwork. Several participated in and even won funding from the ASU Innovation Challenge, a seed funding competition that awards $40,000 annually to student entrepreners. ASU Innovation Challenge teams attending CGI U include:

• Nisarg Patel, Khateeb Hussain, Ryan Muller and Madeline Sands contributed to the development of BLU Biosensors: A project aimed to provide an inexpensive way for developing countries to test water contamination to prevent deaths caused by dehydration from water-borne pathogens.

• Eric Luster, graduate computer science student, designed Reactive Mobile Head-Impact Sensor to determine the severity of helmet impacts on the football field. The software collects and stores real-time impact data and sends alerts if medical staff is needed.

• Jared Schoepf, undergraduate chemical engineering student, is a member of both the SafeSIPP and Sustainable Storm Solutions projects. Sustainable Storm Solutions works to solve the issue of flooding and pollution through an innovative storm-grate system that removes trash and toxins from storm-water outlets. When asked why he started the ventures Jared stated, "I've always wanted to help others. I want to make change on a big scale."

• Kyle Underseth, undergraduate English and sustainability student, co-founded Pull Up a Chair: a social dining network for individuals, restaurants, and non-profit organizations that gives information on upcoming benefit dinners as well as support for hosting charitable dinners. Kyle presented Pull Up a Chair at the Social Venture Partner Fast Pitch competition in March and was selected as the $2,000 student winner.

In addition to the ASU Innovation Challenge participants, 3 ASU Tillman Scholars are being sponsored to attend CGI U including:

• Gabriella Kissinger, undergraduate kinesiology and psychology student, will represent I Always Get Consent: a student-led social movement to educate students about how to prevent sexual assault, promote consent and defy rape culture. Gabriella is excited to attend CGI U to “represent ASU and to further (her) knowledge of social change in order to make an even larger positive impact (on the) project.”

• Jeffrey Lam and Amy Schellhase, undergraduate business students, will represent the STEP program, which works to improve confidence and academic achievement in high school students by providing a mentor relationship, personal and professional developmental programming and college preparation.

Students look forward to attending the Clinton Global Initiative University for the opportunity to “build new relationships that will create new pathways for success in the future,” says Schoepf.

These new relationships will help the student entrepreneurs “successfully carry forth our missions," says Rodriguez.