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."
"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 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.