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Simmons Sends Three Teams to Clinton Global Initiative University Conference

April 30, 2013

Associate Professor Mindell Nitkin led three teams of Simmons students to the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference in St. Louis.

In order to attend the conference, attendees must make a Commitment to Action in either Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, or Public Health.

Deepa Kumarjiguda, Kristen Blow and Marlena Vitali proposed Concaved, a Pandora-like station that flips the algorithm to offer opposing (instead of similar) points of views on journalism.

"When we were discussing and learning about media mis-information in our Simmons World Challenge class, [we] really felt strongly about how social media creates an echo-chamber of ideas," Kumarjiguda said. "The more that we see our viewpoint, and our opinion…the more it's instilled in us and can almost lead to an extremism of that idea. We want to encourage people to see the other side."

Laura Chandler and Hillary Baiamonte presented a political awareness conference, designed to encourage those that might otherwise feel left out of the political system.

"We just want every attendee to feel that there is something that they can do about an issue that they care about," said Chandler. The first conference will be a day-long event, focused on bringing together political entrepreneurs who are already working on issues of voter disenfranchisement. Attendance will be free, and will feature faculty from Simmons College.

The Simmons students came back from CGI U inspired and motivated by the conference speakers and their own peers.

"One of the best parts about the conference was meeting all those people that had such great ideas," said Kristin Blow, who was impressed by a team who had already bought land and started staffing a health clinic in India. "I was just blown away by that, they're our age and they've done so much already."

"The most helpful thing [I learned] would have to be that, everyone's having a different struggle," said Marlena Vitali, who talked about brainstorming problems with other participants. "Who you surround yourself with, and your networks can really help you branch out."

Attendees will continue to work on their projects throughout the summer and in the coming years. If you're interested in participating in the Clinton Global Initiative, contact our campus liaison, Leanne Doherty.

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