Students to attend Clinton Global Initiative University

first_imgJuniors Renat Gabitov and Jon Koehmstedt were selected to attend the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative University program, an annual conference on social entrepreneurship and community development.Based on the same model as the Clinton Global Initiative, the Clinton Global Initiative University is designed to engage and empower college students to address problems in their communities. This weekend, former President Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea Clinton will host 1,100 students, professionals and philanthropists to develop ideas at CGI U 2015 from March 6 to March 8 at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.“I’m looking forward to meeting other young people who have a similar mindset … people who go out of their way to do good for others,” said Gabitov, a junior majoring in business administration. “At CGI U, students from across the country and around the world come together in one place to become educated on how to make a social impact.”Gabitov and Koehmstedt, both transfer students, were selected for the CGIU program as a result of their project plan to create an application to help nonprofits.“The entire idea of social entrepreneurship is that you see what you can do for money, but you find a tangent to engage and develop the community at the same time,” said Gabitov, who is originally from Moscow, Russia.Several months ago, Gabitov brought together a team of 10 professionals in marketing, finance and development at the Viterbi Hacker House to brainstorm new business ideas.“The Viterbi Hacker House is a pool for entrepreneurial thought. It’s a great resource that is really under-utilized … One of the reasons I came to USC was the entrepreneurial culture,” said Koehmstedt, a junior majoring in computer science who works as a student leader in the house.Out of these meetings came the idea for Delo, a platform for task management. The location-based application allows nonprofit organizations to locate and identify individuals in the community who are interested in volunteering and contributing resources to the organizations. Gabitov and Koehmstedt integrated a social payment component into the app by allowing the organizations to receive crowdfunding from the local community.“We found that the problem was most nonprofit organizations that are local do not have exposure. They have a really hard time connecting with the local community,” Gabitov said.To develop the application, Gabitov and Koehmstedt worked with a team composed of USC undergraduate and master students, including Akshaya Shanbhogue, a first-year masters student studying computer science; Kevin Van Beek, a junior majoring in business administration; Anisha Pathak, a freshman majoring in economics and mathematics; Animesh Sinha, a first-year graduate student studying computer science; Samta Jain, a freshman majoring in computer science; and Calvin Leung, a sophomore majoring in computer science. The team is primarily composed of computer science majors, in order to handle the technical aspects of designing the platform. The group has plans to release the application next month.“I think the most important thing we will get from CGI U program is the networking. Whenever you’re in an environment with 500 students from around the world who are equally passionate to make change, it’s bound to be valuable,” said Koehmstedt, who previously served as a mentor for the Clinton Global Initiative program. “I would love to see USC have a bigger presence there in future years.”Gabitov and Koehmstedt are looking forward to the mentorship opportunities with the philanthropists and mentors at the conference and competing for funding for their Delo platform project.All students who are selected for the CGI U program are required to develop their own “commitments to action,” measurable initiatives that address problems in their in local communities, or around the world. The CGI U program is centered on five specific focus areas — education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation and public health.“The CGI U program will be very beneficial for us because we can leverage the network of talented social doers to support us and help us solve problems that we have faced in the development of our app,” Gabitov said.Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Gabitov and Koehmstedt were selected to partake in CGI U because of their plan to create the Viterbi Hack House. They actually planned to create the application Delo. The Daily Trojan regrets the error.last_img

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