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By Cloud Miller, PhD, JD and David A. White, PhD, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Webster's Dictionary defines "public service" as "the business of supplying something (such as electricity, gas, or transportation) to the members of a community; something that is done to help people rather than to make a profit; work that someone does as part of a government: the work done by public servants."
It is suggested by the authors that Kaplan University's School of Social and Behavioral Sciences can become involved in public service to the community by participating in the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U). The Initiative currently has over 1,000 students engaged in developing solutions to major world problems.
CGI U, named after President Bill Clinton and established in 2005, is a proactive organization which turns ideas into actions. The CGI U is an initiative of the Clinton Foundation which convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. CGI U meets once a year in various cities to discuss world problem issues in seminar and general meeting formats. The CGI U notes that "Annual meetings have brought together 180 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize Laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NCOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI U members have made more than 2,500 commitments, which are already improving the lives than more than 430 million people in over 18 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $88 billion." (Clinton Global Initiative, 2014, The mission of the Clinton Global Initiative is to turn ideas into action.)
A CGI U annual meeting was held in Phoenix, Arizona, for the Clinton Foundation's ninth Day of Action. The 2014 CGI U met with former Secretary Hillary Clinton, Univision News anchor Maria Elena Salinas, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, and U.S. Senator John McCain. More than 1,000 attendees discussed various pressing global issues, such as human rights, women's social and economic empowerment, and combating HIV/Aids in the United States (Orlando Sentinel, March 22, 2014, "Bithlo's Good news Shared at Clinton Global Initiative, Section B, pp. B 1-2)
Students at the convention were joined by experts, entrepreneurs, and civically engaged celebrities, including Bill Drayton, CEO , Ashoka; Mark Kelly, former astronaut and founder, Americans for Responsible Solutions; Jimmy Kimmel, Executive Producer Jimmy Kimmel Live; John McCain, U.S. Senator from Arizona; Cindy Hensley McCain, founding member of Eastern Congo Initiative; Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the MasterCard Foundation; Maria Elena Salinas, Anchor Univision News; and Lauryn Williams, U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist. (Clinton Global Initiative University, 2014, President Bill Clinton, Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton to Bring Together More Than 1,000 College Student Leaders for 2014 Meeting of CGI University, March 21-23 at Arizona State University)
Chelsea Clinton commented, "Each year, the commitments and partnerships that come out of CGI University prove that young people are not only up to the task of working toward a safer, more sustainable world, but that they are eager to get started now…Whether interested in starting a global venture to fight HIV/AIDs, or increasing women's interest in STEM in remote areas of the world, students come to CGIU turn their ideas into action. We are thrilled to bring this meeting to ASU (Arizona State University), which has the largest solar energy portfolio of any university in America and a strong commitment to positive social change and innovation." (Clinton Global Initiative University, 2014, President Bill Clinton, Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton to Bring Together More Than 1,000 College Student Leaders for 2014 Meeting of CGI University, March 21-23 at Arizona State University)
It was announced at the convention that GCI U 2014 attendees will have access to more than $750,000 in seed funding to implement their commitments. The funding represents the largest sum of money in CGI U meetings history including $650,000 from the GCI U network of more than 55 colleges and universities and another $100,000 through the Resolution Project Social Venture Challenge.
As commented by one of the authors and as stated by Senator John McCain, "Involve yourself in public service. There is nothing more ennobling than serving a cause greater than your own self-interest and the world needs you today."
By sharing a commitment to action, Jacqueline Smith, Executive Director of University Initiatives and advisor to the President for Social Embeddedness, notes that "new, specific and measurable plans spanning areas such as education, environment, and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation and public health will gain new perspectives about how to most effectively implement their ideas."
It is our fervent hope that both undergraduate and graduate students of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences become actively involved in the Clinton Global Initiative University as was recently demonstrated by Arizona State University in the 2014 Convention.
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