Finding a Green Calling
After Alexis Goldman heard President Bill Clinton speak about the connected nature of environmental and social issues during the Bryan Series last year, she knew she wanted a business career that will allow her to help solve the globe’s environmental problems. The senior from Chapel Hill/Carrboro, N.C. added a double major in environmental studies to her business management studies, and then got involved – really involved – in Guilford’s sustainability program. She has worked on the Guilford College Energy Team, serving as the intern for the group that does energy audits.
Her project, the EcoRoom Initiative, is a community outreach program. Goldman educates students about environmentally responsible decisions they can make in their living space here on campus. The audit of their rooms allows her to calculate how much energy, carbon and money they can save. But she goes beyond that, engaging students in conversations about personal habits they can incorporate in their everyday lives.
“I cover the full spectrum of sustainability, everything from energy conservation to recycling and buying local,” she said.
That passion and effort has earned her selection to attend the fifth Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), running March 30-April 1 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Founded by former President Bill Clinton, the CGI U challenges college students to address global issues with practical, innovative solutions. CGI U members do more than simply discuss problems – they take concrete steps to find solutions by building relationships, creating action plans, participating in hands-on workshops, and following up with CGI U as they complete their projects.
“Alexis is the perfect example of Guilford’s students doing principled problem-solving in her own life, on campus, and beyond Guilford,” said Kyle Dell, director of the environmental studies program. “She is also remarkably talented, well-spoken, and engaging. We consider her as a star in the ENVS program.”
Building on the successful model of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), CGI U brings together approximately 1,000 students from all over the world, along with nonprofit leaders, entrepreneurs, and celebrities engaged in efforts to create positive change. Previous CGI U meetings have convened more than 3,500 students from 641 schools in 110 countries and all 50 states.
Transfer student Kaoru Kofokada, a Guilford senior from Japan, has also been selected to attend CGI U. Kofokada is working in the Glenhaven neighborhood computer literacy project as a service learning project during the Spring 2012 semester.
CGI U meetings consist of working sessions, skill sessions and large plenary sessions, where participants can learn about innovative approaches to solving global issues. Additionally, each CGI U meeting features a large-scale service project where CGI U attendees give back to the local community. The CGI U 2012 sessions topics include: “The Power of Public Service,” “The Wisdom of Failure: Building a Culture of Creative Problem Solving,” and “Futurenomics: Creating Opportunity in an Unstable World.”
Goldman will join her fellow CGI U participants in making a Commitment to Action – a new, specific, and measurable plan that addresses a challenge on their campus, in their local community, or around the world. Past commitments have ranged from installing energy-efficient light bulbs to establishing campus bike share programs, from distributing life-saving water filtration kits to designing medical backpacks for nomadic doctors in Africa.
Speakers at this year’s CGI U meeting will include Jon Stewart, executive producer and host, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; Rye Barcott, founder, Carolina for Kibera; Sadiqa Basiri, co-founder, Oruj Learning Center; Robin Chase, chief executive officer, Buzzcar; Bekele Geleta, secretary general, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; Dr. Ashifi Gogo, founder and chief executive officer, Sproxil, Inc.; Cynthia Koenig, chief executive officer, Wello; Kathryn Schulz, author, Being Wrong; and Chelsea Clinton.