Reflections on CGI-U


Liz Braden, my chapter advisor, sent me an e-mail asking if I wanted to spend the weekend in Washington D.C. with Bill Clinton. It took me about a second to determine that yes, that sounded like a good idea. Building Tomorrow had nominated myself and other chapter leaders to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU), a summit for student philanthropic leaders to come together and share ideas. So while I wouldn’t exactly be rubbing elbows with the former president all weekend, I was still excited about the event as a great opportunity to meet others committed to changing the world.

CGIU met and exceeded my expectations. Not only was I able to network with an incredible group of my peers, who were each working in their own way towards a cause about which they were passionate, but I was also able to gain the perspective of successful change-makers such as Madeline Albright, Biz Stone and Cheryl Dorsey. Attendees were able to listen in on panel discussions, where the star-studded cast debated healthcare, economics, and education. I left each plenary session inspired to make change and give back to our global community.

Yet it quickly became apparent that there is room for improvement in nearly all aspect of our global society. There is so much that can be done and so many worthy causes. It really got me thinking – why education? Why Uganda? Why Building Tomorrow?

The answer to these three questions is very simple: Building Tomorrow is an amazing organization making real change in real time. Since its foundation in 2005, Building Tomorrow has brought 8 primary academies into operation in Uganda, with 5 more currently under construction.

Such rapid development is unprecedented for a non-profit organization, and was particularly impressive after hearing the obstacles faced by other start-up NGOs. Building Tomorrow has been praised by community leaders in Uganda for “walking the talk,” but until my experience at CGIU, I did not realize how true this statement was. There are a lot of people in the world with great ideas, who are excited and passionate, but somehow fail to transform their goals into realities.

As I sat in the closing plenary of CGIU, I listened to Bill Clinton and Jon Stewart discuss the potential of our generation. They explained how it is clear young adults have strong moral compasses and beliefs, but that we are often distracted by our own busy lifestyles. We have a million interests and sometimes jump from cause to cause, following the trends. And that’s exactly what made me so proud to be a member of the Building Tomorrow team. While our summer rap video may not have made it viral, we have a group of hard-working, entrepreneurial, creative supporters who are dedicated to the cause. I have no doubt that Building Tomorrow will continue to bring access to education to children who so desperately desire it, making strides towards the goal of Universal Primary Education. CGIU affirmed my commitment to this incredible cause and inspired me to continue spreading the word about Building Tomorrow.

Claire Morgan
Building Tomorrow at Indiana University Chapter President

Oh, and for those who are wondering, this is as close as I got to Bill Clinton:

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