Monday, April 19, 2010


I was lucky enough to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) over this past weekend in Miami. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the conference, CGI U invites students from universities across the world to make a commitment to a community in the spirit of creating social change. Certain projects are accepted and then these students are allowed to attend the conference where they network with other students, attend workshops, and hear words of advice from leading public servants.

The trip to Miami from Little Rock where the Clinton School of Public Service is located was a journey in itself! But luckily the soccer mom rental van my friends and I rented was fun and Sarah, Erin, Becca and Julie were great to travel across the US with.

My particular commitment was made with classmate, friend, and roommate Julie Meyer. We have committed to conduct a feasibility assessment which is looking into creating a coffee shop in downtown Little Rock. The goal of our coffee shop is twofold. We hope to contribute to the revitalization of downtown Little Rock whereby we have not only a place to buy coffee and tea, but a community space where neighbors, friends, and visitors alike can all hang out and converse with each other. Also, we plan on focusing on under-served youth in Little Rock who have told us informally that they don’t have anything to do here. We plan on employing these youth and also setting up mentorships with adult leaders in the community. A community that bridges adults and youth is a community that is healthier, happier and wiser. For it is the youth that will be our leaders and our elders who often have advice which is helpful.

Speaking of advice . . . President Clinton who presided over the events concluded the Saturday events with some words of wisdom. He said, “It should be a goal in any project to work yourself out of a job.” This was a good reminder as it reinforced many of the ideas the Clinton School of Public Service teaches us. Projects should be both sustainable and fit the needs of the community (rather than the organization). As I like to say it, Clinton’s words were worth the price of admission. It reminded all of us that our commitments and wherever we go in life . . . we are all intricately connected and that our work is bigger than our egos and ourselves.

To check out any of the speakers and events from CGI U, point your browser over to


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