April 25, 2010

CGIU

"The power is in your person. Nothing is going to happen to change your life unless you take action." -Dolores Huerta

Last weekend I went to the University of Miami to attend (CGIU) the Clinton Global Initiative University with three of my PR classmates. It was a three day conference where students went to different workshop and panel sessions on global issues, while brainstorming on their charity commitments.

I chose education and public health as my areas of interest, but really enjoyed attending all the panel discussions.  My favourite speakers included Robyn Allen founder of the vehicle design summit and Maude Barlow the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians. On the last day, we did a service project that included shoveling, digging and planting in the pouring rain (may I add) to help restore a lawn for homeless war veterans.

The president of the University of Miami, Donna Shalala says that real change has three ingredients:
1. A good idea 2. A great imagination and 3. A desire to make a difference.

A highlight for me was hearing former president Bill Clinton speak. When he enters a room, the energy just rises. One of my favourite quotes from him relates to charity work and trying to solve pressing issues. He states: "Your goal should be to work yourself out of a job until you are no longer needed."   
Pharrell Williams also said one of the most truthful quotes:"You are not what you say you are, it's what you do." I really took this quote to heart. There are many things I focus on, write down or speak about but I never really actually make the change. You can say you want to start a charity, volunteer or run 10K for cancer, but until you actually do something, it doesn't really become a part of you. 
I really liked how most of the people turned their passions into philanthropy. Survivor winner Ethan Zohn loved soccer, so he co-founded a grassroots soccer organization in Africa. There was a great focus on finding something you love and turning it into something that will help benefit other people. 
I was so grateful to have such a great group. From left to right Kat, Emily and Michelle really helped bring my spirits up this weekend. After the meeting, we brainstormed more ideas to raise money for our charity and help out in other ways like a clothing or book drive. I met students who are tackling so many issues from helping women in Tibet, to extracting natural dyes from plants to make eco- friendly clothing.

I urge everyone to get inspired and make some sort of positive change. Start planning some goals for the summer, it's never too late or too early to give back.

Today can be the day.

4 comments:

  1. Pharrell's quote is the truest thing I've ever read. I really need to step it up and start doing more to give back. I always do the easiest, least effort requiring thing, like donating my clothes.
    Mind you, going through my closet can sometimes take me a week. It's definately time to step it up.

    Glad you enjoyed Miami!

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  2. Miss Amanda, You are forgetting the most glorious part of the weekend - DeVitto's! I am hoping that this will be included in your birthday wrap up post? Wish I could have made it on Saturday night and that you had a great time. xo

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  3. MY BAD! didn't read the post BEFORE CGIU - #fail haha

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