Community colleges to host Clinton Global Initiative University meeting

Photo: CGI U

The nation’s community colleges will serve as the virtual host campuses for the 2022 Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) annual meeting April 11-13, which will bring students from around the world together with global leaders to inspire action.

This network of virtual host campuses is made possible through a new, innovative partnership between the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

Launched in 2007, CGI U is a leadership development program run by the Clinton Foundation for undergraduate and graduate students. Each year, students from around the world meet with topic experts, academics and influential leaders to develop their “commitments to action,” which are social impact projects that address social, economic, and environmental challenges facing students face on campuses, in local communities or globally.

Since 2007, more than 10,000 students who are tackling pressing challenges in their communities have participated in program, representing more than 1,000 schools, 163 countries and all 50 states.

Previous CGI U host campuses include well-known universities, such as the University of Chicago, Northeastern University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Texas at Austin and more.

Tapping into a new sector

The new partnership is part of an ongoing commitment to expand the reach of the CGI U community and support under-resourced students, building on existing partnerships to connect with student leaders from community colleges, historically Black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and universities, and Hispanic-serving institutions. Through the partnership, CGI U will reach more than 11 million students that attend the U.S. community colleges, and the broader CGI U community will benefit from student engagement and academic expertise from across AACC member campuses.

“Community colleges by their very nature are inclusive and promote opportunity for all. Community colleges are open to everyone, giving people a chance to pursue a higher education and create better lives for themselves and their families,” former President Bill Clinton said in a press release. “These values are at the core of the Clinton Global Initiative – a diverse group of people brought together by the idea that we can each make a difference in the world – and why we are excited to be holding the 2022 CGI U meeting with the American Association of Community Colleges and its member campuses across the country.”

The partnership will directly serve students and community colleges in many ways, including support for students to address current issues and advance innovation from idea to reality in a real-world setting, said AACC President and CEO Walter Bumphus.

“Our community colleges will now be able to connect and contribute to the vast network of CGI U Scholars and resources. And, the CGI University will gain from the contributions of the 11.8 million community college students representing the diversity of our colleges and our country,” he said.

Examples of projects

In 2019, CGI U expanded its support for student leaders by providing a year-round virtual curriculum, with enhanced mentorship and social impact programming. This sustained support, along with the annual meeting as a centerpiece for students to come together, helps students develop their commitments to action, according to the organization.

In 2020, this support included $100,000 in funding for student projects that address the Covid pandemic; a partnership with IBM to help students develop app-based projects that address Covid and climate change; and programming with the Peter G. Peterson Foundation that included a discussion with Chelsea Clinton on how young people are reinventing civic engagement.

This year, CGI U and Verizon launched a partnership to help students develop innovative technology solutions to pressing domestic issues, with the opportunity to earn a spot in an accelerator program and pitch for seed funding.

How to apply

Applicants must be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student at an institution of higher education when they submit their CGI U application. Applicants must submit a detailed plan for their commitment to action, a social impact project that addresses a specific problem that they have identified in their application.

Prospective students can learn more and apply to this year-round program at www.cgiu.org. The CGI U year-round program, including the annual student event, is free for accepted students.

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