Four Rensselaer students have been selected to attend the 10th annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) this fall. The prestigious three-day global conference will be held October 13-15 at Northeastern University in Boston. This year, CGI U will bring together more than 1,100 innovative student leaders, from more than 75 countries, who aspire to make a significant impact on the world. The conference makes available more than $750,000 in funding to help college students turn their ideas for social good into real actionable steps toward solutions, and often leads to possibilities from other outside funding partners who also want to help make these ideas a reality.
The selected Rensselaer students include Priyanka Kalmane ’17, M.S. in business analytics, who designed a program to monitor and strengthen poverty alleviation programs in India. Her plan harnesses effective data collection tools and mobile apps, and plans long-term for an interactive dashboard that would be available to help municipal governments combat severe data collection and quality reporting issues.
Additionally, a team of three Rensselaer students—Luke Bateman ’19, mechanical engineering and design, innovation, and society; Zaire Johnson ’18, computer and systems engineering; and Vincent Arena ’17, mechanical engineering and design, innovation, and society—are part of an interdisciplinary team that created a program called Technology, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainability (TIES) to engage students at Rensselaer with experiences that inspire and enable them to create sustainable change on and off campus, while financing these experiences with savings from energy efficiency at Rensselaer through a reduced carbon footprint.
These Rensselaer students have been mentored by the leadership and programs of the Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship located at the Rensselaer Lally School of Management, as well as the Emerging Ventures Ecosystem (EVE) at Rensselaer.
“This generation of students desires to create organizations that impact society in positive ways and the Entrepreneurship at Rensselaer team is here to support creators of all kinds,” said Jason Kuruzovich, academic director of the Severino Center. “We are excited for our students to work with the Clinton Global Initiative and bring what they learn back to the campus.”
Launched in 2007 by former United States President Bill Clinton, CGI U engages “the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world.” Students apply for CGI U as an individual or in a group of up to three participants and attend free of charge. Participants are required to submit a “Commitments to Action” in one of CGI University’s five focus areas: Education; Environment and Climate Change; Peace and Human Rights; Poverty Alleviation; and Public Health.
“Sometimes the complexity and interconnectedness of the modern world can make the challenge of sustainable development seem an impossible goal,” said Luke Bateman ’19. “However, thanks to Rensselaer and its amazing faculty, we are learning how to identify, understand, and design solutions to problems in ways that are transformative for those they impact. We are incredibly excited for the experience we will have at CGI U and look forward to bringing what we learn back to Rensselaer and our fellow students.”
At the conference, student attendees strengthen their ideas, skills, and action plans, and meet potential partners and expand their networks through plenary sessions, working sessions, and other special events. The program features dozens of topic experts, university representatives, and celebrities who take part in discussions about real solutions for critical challenges in the world today. The last day of the program features a “Day of Action” with community service opportunities undertaken by attendees in the Greater Boston area.