“Every great problem at its root is an identity question. How you respond depends on who you are, or who you have decided to be.” -President Bill Clinton
Every year students from around the world come together to meet at the Clinton Global Initiative University. Over 1,000 students from 80 countries descended on Boston for an October weekend to learn how to become more effective world change makers. Each student team that goes to CGI U has made a commitment in one of five focus areas: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, or Public Health. Over the course of their next academic year, those students will take what they learn at CGI U to go back into their community and complete their commitments.
NC State is a proud University Network member of CGI U with the Institute for Nonprofits as host department. Through its Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation offerings, the Institute provided funding for two students to attend this year, Ryan Kelley ‘18, majoring in mechanical engineering, and Aidan Special ‘19, a graduate student in Textile Technologies. Ryan and Aidan were required to apply and be accepted to CGI U based on their commitment to one of the service areas and the strength of their proposed social venture. Institute staff helped prepare the team for high level networking and the opportunity to share their idea with potential global stakeholders.
Aidan and Ryan are working on a startup called Aeolus Medical. In describing their company they said: “The ability for a doctor to look at a patient’s entire medical record with the help of artificial intelligence will radically change the efficiency and effectiveness of all healthcare providers. In the past, the technology to create such a system that was secure and scalable did not exist. Now with blockchain infrastructure and machine learning, a decentralized network to store and communicate all patient records can be created. The mission of Aeolus Medical is to create this network and build the tools for doctors to effectively use the data. All software created for Aeolus medical will be open source and the system will be completely free for hospitals to implement.”
Ryan and Aidan plan to work on their project throughout the school year and are looking for incubator programs to continue their work post-graduation in the Spring. They described participation in CGI U as, “The single best event for surrounding yourself with like-minded students from all over the world.”
“Which is more important? Our differences or our common humanity?” -President Bill Clinton
CGI U is renowned for its high quality speakers. Some noteworthy figures from this year included Madeleine Albright, Daryl Davis, Rep. Joe Kennedy III and Dr. Paul Farmer. Additionally, President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton spoke throughout the weekend and hosted panel discussions on a variety of topics. Panel discussions challenge students to not limit themselves, and to celebrate with former students who have turned their commitments into full time jobs after college. Some common topics discussed at the event included why the energy of youth is essential to making a difference in the world, how to create a sustainable future, and learning how to build a community in a divided world.
The weekend ended with a Day of Service. This provided students the opportunity to work on projects in Boston and help improve the city that had hosted them throughout the weekend. President Clinton ended the weekend with the fitting words, “Show up and serve.”
Interested in going next year? Applications will be requested toward the end of the Spring Semester. More information can be found at: https://www.clintonfoundation.org/clinton-global-initiative/meetings/cgi-university
Questions? Contact Tyler Daniel at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in videos of some of the panel discussions and speeches you can watch them all at: