Clinton Event Offers Priceless Lessons in Leadership

Student Representatives Learn Ways to Put Their Service Ideas into Action

May 10, 2011

To learn new skills, you turn to the masters. For two UT Dallas students interested in humanitarian causes, the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) was the perfect place to get help.

Participants at the CGI U 2011 meeting got the chance to mingle and network with some of the highest-profile names in social activism, including former President Bill Clinton, actress Drew Barrymore, popular singer Mandy Moore and YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley.

Clinton Global Initiative University

Former President Clinton launched CGI U to help train the next generation of leaders on college campuses.

Representing UT Dallas for her second year was junior political science major Maria-Luiza Popescu. She was among the nearly 1,200 people attending the annual meeting April 1-3 on the University of California, San Diego campus with the goal of taking concrete steps toward solving some of the world’s most pressing issues.

Clinton launched CGI U in 2007 to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses. Each year, the organization hosts a meeting at which students and national youth organizations meet with topic experts and public figures to discuss solutions.

“CGI U brings together college students from various fields to showcase their talents by developing feasible and original ‘Commitments to Action’ to exchange best practices and network with nonprofit and corporate sector leaders, celebrities, musicians and humanitarians alike,” Popescu said.

As the CGI U campus representative to UT Dallas, Popescu hopes to recruit future attendees by helping them develop their action plans and walking them through the application process.

In order to become CGI U members and attend the annual meeting, students must develop a “Commitment to Action” that addresses a pressing challenge on campus, in the community or in a different part of the world.

Popescu’s commitment plan, for example, involves researching and developing an alternative education model that uses music to help young people develop stronger academic skills.

She plans to organize academic lectures at local music festivals, focusing on music history, music workshops and dance demonstrations. She also hopes to raise money for drug rehabilitation centers and addiction research efforts.

“Involvement with CGI U has provided some great opportunities,” Popescu said. “It has allowed me to develop partnerships with nonprofit leaders and students from other campuses with similar interests. I also have drawn possible funding opportunities.”

Jamacach Lett, a junior criminology major, attended the CGI U meeting for the first time this year.

“UT Dallas students care about their community and world, and more students should get involved with CGI U,” Lett said. “This organization is proof that young people have the power to make a significant impact by confronting some of the world’s most urgent challenges.”

For more information about CGI U, contact Maria-Luiza Popescu or visit the organization’s website.


Media Contact: Teala Miller, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
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Maria-Luiza Popescu

Above:  UT Dallas political science major Maria-Luiza Popescu attended the Clinton Global Initiative University conference for the second year in a row.

Below:  Popescu (in center, with paper) got a chance to meet the former president at the conference.

Clinton Global Initiative University

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