The proposals of eight Roosevelt students were chosen to be presented at the 2018 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) University Conference at the University of Chicago in October. These proposals addressed crucial social, economic and environmental challenges facing American society.
The meeting brought together more than 1,000 innovative student leaders to make Commitments to Action in CGI University’s five focus areas of education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health. Students were given the opportunity to attend working sessions and special events where they could network with their peers, build professional skills and identify potential partners.
David Gibson, who collaborated with and led Roosevelt’s student group, reflected on his experience after the conference, which he says gave him a “renewed vigor to be powerful in my commitment to transform the world through education.”
“I met people who from Africa, New Zealand, Finland and Kansas all who wanted to simply create a world that allows for all people to be their true selves living in the dream of a world that powerfully works. Awe is the most applicable word to be a part of something great and amazing that is larger than yourself. I was part of The CGI University Exchange on Saturday night. It was a science fair of projects created from around the world where students showcased what they were creating for other students and people to contribute and enhance those projects.
“I learned about the impact of dental hygiene and the role it plays in pregnancy. The next minute I heard about accessibility in Haiti for books and educational materials to alleviate policy by enhancing the delivery system. I then began to explain my own project, which is altering the curriculum of students to align with their passions rather than what someone else tells them to do. Through the alignment of what we learn to its level of importance in our lives is critical. We can transfer the skills of life rather than the history of what someone else did before. This conference was powerful for me and reaffirmed my commitment to education that is potent and that works for all.”
Sabbaghi with President Bill Clinton (left).
Another Roosevelt student attendee, Hannah Molina, also provided her reflections on the conference.
“I think this weekend I learned more about myself and the future of our country than I actually did about policy, public health or even tax reform. I met and discussed with civic activists, world leaders, entrepreneurs and today’s change-makers. The one thing we all hold in common is hope; we hope to better ourselves, our communities and our world. But most importantly, we have hope in each other to create a better world. This weekend taught me that I’m a part of something much greater than myself and that I have the ability to become someone that can inspire and empower those around me. I don’t know where I’ll be six months from now on graduation day, but I believe it’ll be a better tomorrow.
“Being at the conference reminded me of what President Barack Obama said in his final speech, to not just believe in his ability to bring about change but to also believe in ours. I met and became friends with many of those ‘young people’ he spoke about, those who are unselfish, altruistic, creative — those that believe in a fair, just and inclusive society. It gave me hope, but it also made me realize that when history books are being written, I’ll have a part in them.”