First year law student Tricia Robinson recently traveled to San Diego, California to participate in the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative University Conference (CGI U). As a delegate, she had the opportunity to interact with global leaders and students throughout the world.
"This conference was by far one of the most inspirational and motivational events that I have ever attended," says Robinson. "The students had such a high level of commitment to change, and that combined with the positive energy, was invigorating and refreshing."
The event, which convened approximately 1,500 college students, university officials and representatives from youth organizations, focused on global challenges in education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health. Over the course of the conference, delegates participated in working and skill sessions to brainstorm ways to make a difference. As a prerequisite to attend the conference, Robinson had to submit an application, outlining a Commitment to Action plan to address a global issue with practical and innovative solutions.
Robinson's commitment focused on increasing the exposure of students to areas of environmental law through a HOPE Pro Bono Research Project.
"The Project gives students the opportunity to work on small-scale research projects for private firms like Baker McKenzie and others, giving them exposure to current issues in the law as well as providing real-world applicable experience," says Robinson. "I want to bring in a private firm and an NGO to specifically send us research projects that have environmental law issues in them. Hopefully, this project will be a stepping stone for the eventual creation of a clinical program here at the University of Miami School of Law."
The CGI U builds on the successful model of the Clinton Global Initiative, now in its sixth year, to engage college students and administrators in taking action to address a specific problem on their campus, in their community or globally.
"I left this year's conference with a renewed sense of dedication and empowerment to saving our planet, one global issue at a time," says Robinson. "The moving atmosphere of CGI U has left me determined to carry that same drive and ambition to our campus. Our students have already made differences to communities, locally, nationally and internationally. I hope that my experience and network from CGI U can help me to contribute to the goal of fostering not only a pro bono ethic, but a commitment to pro bono action as well. It is through our actions, united in a common purpose, that we can affect change."