|UST MicroCredit Meets Clinton, Fellow Globally Motivated Students|
For UST senior Michael Black, seeing more than 1,500 college students in one place committed to humanitarian action on a global scale, moved him beyond motivation and inspiration. Representing the MicroCredit Program, Black, Thomas Mendez, Joe Konkel, and Sheza Hamdy spent the weekend of Feb. 14 at the Clinton Global Initiative University held at the University of Texas at Austin.
Building on the successful model of the Clinton Global Initiative, which brings together world leaders to take action on global challenges, Former President Bill Clinton launched the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) in 2007 to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world. Each year, CGIU hosts a meeting for students, national youth organizations, and university officials to discuss solutions to pressing global issues. Participants convened with a common goal to make a difference in CGIU’s five focus areas: education, energy and climate change, global health, peace and human rights, and poverty alleviation.
The University of St. Thomas MicroCredit Program is a student-operated non-profit organization which assists micro entrepreneurs living below the poverty threshold to start income generating businesses. The program seeks to promote freedom, fairness and democracy around the world by endorsing basic principles of microentrepreneurship, self-employment, property rights, and wealth accumulation, while integrating the Catholic values of the University of St. Thomas.
The students networked with various corporate, political, and nonprofit organization representatives. This included former President Clinton, Paul Begala, former Clinton presidential aide, celebrity activists Matthew McConaughey and Natalie Portman, university presidents and many more. View a complete list of other participants.
UST students participated in workshops that included tips on expanding organizations, creating infrastructure and gaining publicity. The conference included a service excursion to a local Rosewood Park and Recreation Center in East Austin. View additional details about the conference.
Black said the most profound impact of the CGIU experience was the strength and unity of the students’ desire to change the world.
“It’s easy to get lost in the immensity of problems like global poverty, and it’s easy to think that those problems are impossible to attack,” Black said. “In a sense, that’s true, because no single program or service will eradicate poverty. But by networking with other university students, we can all act together to be agents of change, to harness the humanitarian impact of youth and to find multiple solutions to global problems.”