SESP Students Selected For Clinton Global Initiative

SESP Students Selected For Clinton Global Initiative

Amy Drake and Hannah CaplanAmy Drake and Hannah Caplan will travel to Edinburgh, Scotland in April for a three-day conference.

School of Education and Social Policy undergraduates Amy Drake and Hannah Caplan were among nine Northwestern University students selected for the 12th annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) program, a year-round curriculum that includes attending an international conference.

The three-day, invitation-only leadership summit will bring together approximately 700 students from more than 280 schools and 100 countries. Northwestern University, which will send nine students this year, joined the CGI U Network in 2014 through the Institute of Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN).

To be eligible for the program and a three-day conference, held in April at the University of Edinburgh, students must work individually or in teams to address issues related to education, environment, and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health.

Caplan, originally from Dallas, is a social policy major at SESP and business institutions minor in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Her CGI U project will create long-lasting partnerships between corporate businesses and Chicago public schools that will consistently provide resources that can boost attendance and the quality of the schools. 

“I’m specifically interested in inserting myself as the middleman in these partnerships to help use untapped resources to support academic success in places that are struggling to do so,” she said.  “Uplifting public schools is critical for strengthening and creating opportunities for children who identify with lower socioeconomic status, encouraging the end to cyclical poverty.”

Drake, who came to Northwestern from the United Kingdom, is also a social policy major who is working on a student-led initiative to empower local communities to make environmentally-friendly choices. She collaborated with Ahlaam Moledina, a freshman from Medill, and Simone Laszuk, a senior from Weinberg, in creating RISE: Reducing Inequalities in Sustainable Engagement.

This initiative will provide workshops to address the inaccessibility of sustainable practices to low-income populations and will provide local young people with the necessary resources to make environmentally friendly choices, regardless of socioeconomic status. Working with ISEN, her team will also develop a curriculum to increase the ability of low-income communities to reduce their environmental impact

Drake said she was disappointed and frustrated by the disparity between the high volume of discussions around campus sustainability and the lack of awareness around its exclusivity.

“It’s often difficult to lead environmentally-conscious lifestyles without the necessary knowledge and means,” she says. “Our project, therefore, commits to provide resources to low-income residents in Chicago— those whom climate change not only affects the most but who are the least equipped to reduce it.”

Hosted by Bill and Chelsea Clinton, past speakers at CGI U include global policymakers, social enterprise leaders, scholars, and commentators such as Madeleine Albright, Jack Dorsey, John Lewis, Jimmy Wales, Muhammad Yunus, Hawa Abdi Diblawe, and Stephen Colbert (C ’86, H ’11).

Last year graduate students Liz Jackson, Hernando Sevilla-Garcia, and undergraduate Christina Parker were selected as part of the Class of 2019.

ISEN works closely with student teams to develop and implement impactful projects and funds their participation at the event. ISEN’s Resnick Family Social Impact Program, which supports student projects that address local and global issues in the areas of energy and sustainability.

For more information, visit ISEN's website.

By julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 3/5/20