Students recognized for changing communities, world

Jabril Leigh, second-year CE, and Jennifer Chirico, graduate student Environmental Policy, student were accepted to the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) in recognition for their steps to creating change in the world and their communities.

The Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) recognizes the work that students like Leigh and Chirico complete and allows world leaders, Nobel Prize winners, college students and administrators to come together, discuss and implement innovative projects to help alleviate pressing social and environmental problems.

According to the website,, the CGI is singularly different from other organizations in that it “requires each member to make a specific commitment to Action.” Commitment to actions can affect either a campus or any community or particular population.

“The Objectives of CGI are to get people, younger generation from all over the world together, work together and communicate together. It’s also to share others difficulties and successes and see feedback and connect student, faculty, and administration,” Leigh said.

Leigh wanted to come up with a way to improve education in his home village in Gambia, Africa by giving students in his village adequate transportation to and from school.

“I wanted to make a difference at home,” said Leigh, “[I created] bike sharing program [to] allow them to travel to school on time and return back before dark. It also motivates them to go to school.”

He believes that if one improves the education of children, their livelihood will improve as well. Leigh, a former construction worker, came to Tech in order to learn how to better benefit his community. His acceptance to GCIU is an unintended consequence of his goals to benefit his village.

The objective of CGIU is to get youth involved in helping a community to increase awareness for a social issue.

“I want to increase awareness of waste management issues in the Pacific Ocean by developing a short documentary,” said Chirico.

“The Pacific Ocean is also home to the world’s largest ‘Garbage Patch,’ a solid waste collection in the ocean, which scientists estimate to be twice the size of Texas.” She believes that it is a situation where it is, “out of sight out of mind,” that few people truly understand or are aware of the issue of poor waste management in the Pacific.

In 2005, Clinton established Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in order to bring together resources and people to come up with solutions to frustrating global and social issues.

“The annual conferences,” the website said, “gathers world leaders from a variety of backgrounds, the CGI creates a unique opportunity to channel the capacities of individuals and organizations to realize change.”

“…Students run into is identifying resources to make their commitments a reality. One way that we try to assist in this area is by teaming up with the Wal-Mart Foundation and Pat Tillman Foundation to award students with grants for their commitment,” said Keisha Senter, director of GCIU.

The CGIU focuses on five specific areas of change: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation and public health.CGIU students are invited to the CGI conference held at Miami University on April 16-18. While at the conference students participate in many workshops and networking events to strengthen their positions on community actions.

“[I am excited] to have an opportunity to meet with other people from around the world who have related interests and learn what they are doing to solve similar problems,” said Chirico.