News Archive

Clinton Global Initiative University Accepts Six Commitments to Action from Nazareth College Students in its Inaugural Year

Published March 11, 2014

In just its first year of involvement as a network member with the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), Nazareth College students submitted 10 Commitments to Action (project applications). Of those 10 projects, six have been accepted to CGI U 2014! CGI U is made up of a growing consortium of colleges and universities that support, mentor, and provide seed funding to student leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs who are developing solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
Nazareth College's project applications were part of a competitive pool of projects from applicants representing universities around the world.
The students were notified of their acceptance on February 10, 2014 and will attend the annual CGI U meeting from March 21-23, 2014 at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. The meeting will assemble more than 1,000 innovative student leaders who have made Commitments to Action in CGI U’s five focus areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health.
The applications represented the work of 18 students (13 undergraduate and 5 graduate) with the support of 15 faculty, staff and community advisors.
"This is a wonderful testament to the passion and drive of our students who have a sincere desire to address issues facing our world today," said Nazareth College President Daan Braveman. "To have so many projects accepted in our first year is a real accomplishment, and we are proud of our CGI U student applicants, as well as the faculty, staff and advisors, who worked so hard on their commitments to action."

Nazareth College CGI U Commitments to Action that have been accepted:
 1) Project Title: Supporting Safe Birthing Practices in Panrieng, South Sudan
Students: Kumba Tachequee '16G, Kaelen Austin '15G, Jacqueline Lindsey '15G (social work graduate program)
Advisors: Dr. Jed Metzger and Dr. Carol Brownstein-Evans
Project Summary: The group seeks to access community resources and form a partnership in Rochester, N.Y. with the South Sudan Village Care project to support and sustain the maternal child health clinic in Panrieng. This will involve capacity building at a community level to provide information and contacts on birthing kits, medications, and training resources for staff regarding safe birthing practices.

2) Project Title: Earth Step Initiative
Student: Nicholas Gerbino '17 (anthropology)
Advisor: Dr. Yamuna Sangarasivam (anthropology)
Project Summary: This commitment to action will involve community lectures designed to educate people on the widespread effects of the consumer goods they purchase everyday. For instance, the Unilever Corporation consumes 1.6 million tons of palm oil annually that are harvested through the use of deforestation; 90% of the worlds palm oil comes from Malaysia and Indonesia whose natural rainforests, have been almost completely destroyed. By having monthly lectures, this CGIU commitment can educate consumers on the effects that their goods are having on the other side of the globe.

3) Project Title: Social Change Through Intergenerational Dialogue
Student: Danielle Mensing '15 (psychology)
Advisor:  Dr. David Steitz (psychology/gerontology)
Project Summary: This commitment is an innovative movement to enhance awareness and responsiveness to issues faced by older adults and to strengthen services in long and short term health care for all present and future generations. Through Intergenerational Dialogue, youth and older populations will come together to share their hopes and challenges, while developing new methods to increase understanding and influence. At Intergenerational Dialogue events attendees will learn about current issues and brainstorm solutions. These solutions will be transformed into action steps with each participant taking responsibility to move their ideas forward.

4) Project Title: Sickle the Cycle
Student: Omonike Oyelola '17 (social work)
Advisor: Ms. Mary Dahl Maher (nursing)
Project Summary: Oyelola’s commitment is to raise awareness about the chronic and debilitating effects of the genetic condition sickle cell disease in order to better educate the community about the risks affiliated with the disease.  She hopes to lessen the diseases’ worldwide impact on the children and minority groups it primarily affects by improving the quality of health care the patients receive. Oyelola plans to begin locally to identify carriers by making the screening process more accessible to prevent the inheritance of sickle cell and by promoting online resources that can be used internationally for healthcare providers and those with the disease.

5) Project Title: Voices of Youth:Parental Incarceration
Students: Danielle Ashton ‘15 and Alyson Durant ‘15 (social work/community youth development)
Advisors: Dr. Estella Norwood Evans, Dr. Marie Watkins (social work)
Project Summary: This Commitment will work to empower children of incarcerated parents by promoting healthy life skills, educational aspirations, and positive self-value. It also reduces the risk of stigmatization, criminal offenses, and future incarceration. The commitment will work with Nazareth College Community Youth Development, and other community organizations to cultivate and deliver effective workshops.

6) Project Title: Yoga Empowerment Partnership (YEP)
Students: Gina Bessing ‘14 (inclusive childhood education/psychology), Olivia Harrigan ‘15 (communication sciences and disorders), Brianna Miller ‘14 (music therapy and music education/psychology minor)
Advisors:  Lynne Staropoli-Boucher/Center for Spirituality and  Cara Beslin/Mary’s Place Refugee Outreach
Project Summary: The Yoga Empowerment Partnership (YEP) will engage with high school girls to promote health and wellness, realization of self worth, strengthening of self-esteem, and the development of self-advocacy. It will bring together college student leaders with youth from the Rochester area, specifically girls from the Young Women’s College Prep Charter School of Rochester (YWCP), through a series of ongoing programs and special events. In order to create a specialized experience for each partnership, YEP plans accommodate the individual needs and desires of the organizations and the youth that YEP will serve.
Since its inaugural meeting in 2008, CGI U has brought together more than 5,500 student leaders from 135 countries and more than 800 schools. Past speakers include Madeleine Albright, Jack Dorsey, Muhammad Yunus, Hawa Abdi Diblawe, and Jon Stewart.
Nazareth is one of only five colleges nationwide to receive the 2013 Presidential Awardee in the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. 95 percent of Nazareth College students participate in service. Last year alone, Nazareth students devoted 553,000 hours of service to the community.

About CGI U
The Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) brings together college students to address global challenges with practical, innovative solutions. CGI U participants do more than simply discuss problems – they take concrete steps to solve them by creating action plans, building relationships, participating in hands-on workshops, and following up with CGI U as they complete their projects. Previous CGI U meetings have taken place at Tulane University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Miami, the University of California at San Diego, the George Washington University, and Washington University in St. Louis, and have convened more than 5,500 students from over 800 schools and 135 countries. To learn more, visit

For More Information

Julie Long, Nazareth Chief Public Relations Officer: (585) 389-2456

Clinton Global Initiative University

Nazareth University is an inclusive community of inspired learners, educators, and changemakers who for nearly 100 years have been driven by a bold commitment to action, empathy, equity, and leading innovation for the common good. Impact experiences are at the heart of a Nazareth education, preparing each student to discover within themselves the potential to cultivate positive change in their life's work, in any career field, and in a world that is constantly evolving and infinitely interconnected.

Our broad academic offerings present a range of study options typical of larger universities, yet achieved in our supportive campus culture. Nearly 2,100 undergrad and 600 graduate students enroll in degree and certificate programs and engage in collaborative, transformative learning experiences, preparing for the professions and society of today and tomorrow. In a learning community that purposefully integrates liberal arts and professional programs, Nazareth University graduates are able to launch a lifetime of impactful leadership in communities and workplaces near and far.