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ASU students to be featured at CGI U opening ceremony, special events

March 06, 2015

This weekend, select students from Arizona State University will attend the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), a selective and high-profile conference that will focus on student-led solutions to our world’s most pressing issues. The conference will be held on March 6-8 at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.

Several of the ASU students selected to attend will also participate in select special events, bracket challenges and competitions:

• Three ASU students will compete for seed funding from the Social Resolution Project with students from around the world in the Social Venture Challenge.

• Nine ASU students will showcase their Commitments to Action at the CGI U Exchange exhibition.

• Two ASU students will participate in the CGI U Codeathon, a prototype design challenge.

• One team of ASU students will compete in the CGI U Bracket Challenge, a crowdfunding competition.

Kimberly Roland, a graduate student studying social justice and human rights in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, will be recognized by President Bill Clinton at the opening plenary session for the strides she has made since first submitting her Commitment to Action to CGI U last year.

Her project, “School Pantry: Rural AZ,” aims to reduce child hunger in rural parts of northern Arizona.

“Initially, the number of meals provided was around 34,000,” Roland said. “Since 2014, [my project] has served over 50,000 meals, and currently, it is piloting in Bullhead City. My plan is to continue expanding this program in northern Arizona, and my dream is to also pilot it somewhere on the Navajo Reservation.”

Roland will speak on stage during the opening plenary session, which will be led by President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton.

Christopher Workman, a graduate student in biomedical engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, will showcase his team-led Commitment to Action at the CGI U Exchange and also participate in the CGI U Codeathon. His team’s Commitment to Action, “Measure the Reef: Save the Coral,” aims to monitor the health of coral reefs, and will benefit from collaboration and assessment from other CGI U commitment-makers from other institutions.

“At the Codeathon, my team members and I will lead a team of about eight people in programming and designing additions to part of a competition against other featured Commitments to Action,” he said. “We are very excited and anxious to begin the Codeathon, as it will be a tremendous opportunity for learning from the other coders who will be on our team and for advancing our commitment.”

Ngoni Mugwisi, a MasterCard Foundation Scholar and sophomore in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, is also looking forward to the opportunities of attending CGI U. His team-led Commitment to Action, “Stair Gardens,” is a tiered gardening initiative for struggling communities in Zimbabwe. Described by CGI U as “an exemplary way of tackling critical issues,” his team’s Commitment to Action will be featured at the CGI U Exchange exhibition and onstage during one this weekend’s sessions.

The annual CGI U conference is a highly anticipated event that convenes over 1,000 students from over 300 colleges and 80 countries. To attend, students must pass a competitive selection process by submitting compelling solutions, called Commitments to Action, to today’s problem in one of five focus areas: education; environment and climate change; peace and human rights; poverty alleviation; and public health. Students must also explain how their Commitments to Action are new, specific and measureable.

Hosted at ASU in 2014, CGI U provides selected undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to engage with topic experts, renowned leaders and celebrities through interactive workshops and plenary sessions.