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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Life + Arts

Junior bids to fortify women’s rights

University students secured commitments for campus change at the second-annual Clinton Global Initiative University conference from Friday to Saturday.

CGIU is a three-day event for applicants who are chosen based on group or individual proposals.’ The experience is aimed at providing attendees with the skills and knowledge to successfully implement their ideas. Conferences also feature panel discussions between activists around the world, including actress Natalie Portman.

Victoria Arzu, a political science and philosophy junior, was one of 3,500 students invited to attend the meeting this weekend at the University of Texas. Her application included a plan for a campus women’s rights organization.

‘You make a proposal of a commitment to better the world, and if your commitment is good enough you get selected,’ Arzu said.

To be able to affect change locally and globally is one goal Arzu said she hopes her group can obtain by using the tools she learned at CGIU. Arzu plans to raise awareness of women’s rights issues by screening documentaries such as America the Beautiful and holding open forums on the rise of violent crimes in the U.S. and global woman’s right violations.

‘I definitely got a lot of contacts and advice on how to get money and fundraising,’ Arzu said.’ ‘It’s an opportunity to put yourself out there.’ I’m really glad I went.’

At the conference students attended plenary and skill sessions based on the CGIU’s focus areas: education, energy and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation and global health.

Arzu is prepared to submit her student group to the Campus Activities Board so she can begin the many projects she has planned.

‘It was networking, feeding back on ideas.’ Most of all I got encouragement,’ Arzu
Members of the Environmental Club at UH represented the University during the conference last year in New Orleans by helping break ground on recovery efforts in the 11th ward.

Environmental Club president Paulina Guerrero attended CGIU last year to get ideas to improve recycling efforts on campus.

Guerrero, an environmental science senior, said the black recycling bins that have become ubiquitous on campus are the result of the University’s support of the environmental club’s ideas.

‘We wanted our school to change its green outlook and the Clinton Global Initiative University inspired us,’ Guerrero said.’ ‘It helped us focus our goals in the direction of how to approach something you’re passionate about.’

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