Rutgers students attend Clinton Global Initiative University
While it might not be unusual for University students to engage in networking and entrepreneurial activities, many might consider being invited to a Clinton family event an unusual, even rare opportunity.
Seven Rutgers students attended the invitation-only Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) University in Miami, Florida during March to present projects that seek to improve the national and international communities through social service and entrepreneurial endeavors.
The University students were required to make Commitments to Action, plans that address immediate issues that concern the Rutgers, national and international communities with students from more then 75 countries and 300 schools, according to the GCI University website.
CGI University allowed students with similar interests to network with one another and provide commentary on various projects, said Lisa Lawson, a School of Social Work second-year master’s student.
“Being around like-minded individuals is important, but when you can be included in a larger group of young entrepreneurs and program-builders, you learn a lot more about what you can do,” she said. “You learn about each other.”
Using social media for marketing is beneficial for expanding knowledge and enlightening potential colleagues about new ideas, Lawson said.
CGI University was beneficial for potential social and institutional growth because it gives like-minded people a chance to share ideas, said Meena Chandrasekar, a Rutgers Business School junior.
Although the Rutgers students were able to watch Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton speak on separate occasions at the two-day conference, none of students were able to meet any of them one-on-one, Chandrasekar said.
“It was good to see the initiative that other students were taking, and kind of ‘leverage’ what they’ve done toward my project as well,” she said. “There’s no competition –– it’s more of a ‘Let’s help each other’ type of environment.”
In her Commitment to Action “Detect All,” an initiative for well-being, Chandrasekar said she wants to figure out what diseases a person is at risk for, what tests they need to take and put them all together in a one-day package available at a medical facility.
The vision for “Detect All” is to create a website like travelocity.com, where an individual can go online and type in their age, gender, demographic and insurance policy to be matched up with a product that would detect diseases at a local facility at a low cost, Chandrasekar said.
“The idea is to bring all-inclusive one-day medical test process to America,” she said. “It’s really trying to make our healthcare system accessible to an average middle-aged American.”
Chandrasekar came up with the project’s concept and business model, and her colleagues helped her ensure it was compliant with the United States Preventative Services Task Force regulations, she said.
“They can choose any local facility, their insurance would cover a majority of (the cost) and they could go in one day, maybe find out what diseases they may harbor or at least be proactive and knowledgeable in where they stand,” she said.
Attending the conference was overwhelming at first, but an informative and worthwhile experience at the end, said Olympia Christofinis, a School of Arts and Sciences senior.
For her Commitment to Action, Christofinis is planning on collecting medical equipment and transporting the supplies to 91 run-down clinics what have been ravaged by civil war in Syria through a supporting organization that handles transportation overseas, she said.
“The purpose of a lot of these panels … (gave) greater insight into certain topics and industries was also a way of inspiring students to continue on the path and continue with what they’re doing,” Christofinis said. “It’s an expedited process, but it was worthwhile.”
The CGI University wants to encourage the next generation of leaders to attempt to solve problems that have plagued older problems, as well as contemporary ones, according to the GCI University website.
Networking with as many people as possible and understanding the constantly adapting media landscape is important for inciting world change, Lawson said.
“It’s (important) to at least expand your networking range (and) it’s good to learn more about new parts of media,” she said. “We can’t change everything, but we can change something … we are changing something together.”
Dan Corey is a Rutgers Business School first-year student majoring in pre-business and journalism and media studies. He is an Associate News Editor at The Daily Targum. Follow him on Twitter @_dancorey for more stories.