Clinton Global Initiative University – Tulane University, 14-16 March 2008

Last Thursday I hopped on a plane and headed to New Orleans for the first ever Clinton Global Initiative University conference ( 700 college students, 30 college and university professors, and many NGO representatives spent a day talking with experts in Energy and Climate Change, Global Health, Poverty Alleviation, and Human Rights and Peace. Then we had a chance to do a service project in the lower ninth ward. It was such an incredible time and I am so lucky and honored to have been able to go. I hope you can watch the full video. It’s really neat.

ABC News Story

In this second video you can watch President Clinton’s closing speech, and if you fast forward to minute 39:00 exactly you can see half of my face in the upper right hand corner. In all the other media and photographs I was in the background, so thats the most of the media attention I got. 🙂

President Clinton’s Closing Speech

If you are REALLY REALLY interested in watching videos, they have the webcasts for all of our sessions up on their website at:

CGI University Webcasts


Global Issues Conference

For the past three days I have been at the International School of Dusseldorf in Germany at the Global Issues Conference, which is put on by the Global Issues Network. The conference brought together about 350 students from a dozen international schools from around the world.

The conference consisted of five keynote speakers, myself included, along with a number of workshops, all of which focused on taking action.


Many conferences that I have been to do a lot of talking and everyone feels great at the end and they had fun but they go home and do nothing. This was not one of those conferences. The goal of the conference was for each of the schools to leave with a written action plan that outline concrete and implementable solutions to problems that their community faced.

Stuents work on their action plans

Students discussed throughout the conference what they could do to make their community more sustainable, which was the topic of the conference.

I get very motivated when I go to events like this and see students from 8th to 12th grade from many different countries working together simply because they have a desire to better themselves, their community and their world. In fact, it goes to the topic of my talk, youth leadership.

I am in the unique position to still be a young person who works full time, pays rent, pays bills, pays taxes and lives in an adult world. It lets me see what is on the other end of my four years of college. More importantly, it lets me realize that the next four years and the four years of high school that I just left behind are the best time in my life to follow my passions.

As “young people” or “youth,” we have the responsibility to take a leadership role in the world now while we do not have the responsibilities of a family or a job or as I told them,”adult stuff.”

I will be able to sleep well tonight though, knowing that the 350 participants at this conference are going back to wherever they are from to spread the passion that they have for changing the world.

More to come on the conference, speakers and even the Roots & Shoots group who was there!

Talk with Projects in Sustainability Class – Santa Barbara City College

Last week I journeyed across the U.S. to meet up with our wonderful California Regional Staff. They invited me out to help them with some outreach presentations and some strategic planning for the year. Great things. Great fun. I love their staff.

The trip started Saturday evening when I went into NYC to meet up with some friends, and crash before a very early 6am flight out of JFK. Flight went well…mostly. They sent my bag to the Bahamas. Woo. Not so much. I was fine though. We went to get some supplies and definitely survived a few days sans my stuff.

So I normally I wouldn’t complain about something like that in a blog post, but I felt it had a great connection to the presentation that I gave yesterday. So here goes. Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of speaking with Dr. Adam Green’s Projects in Sustainability Class. I was only expecting about 20 or so students, but I guess Dr. Green was able to get the word out and I think all in all there were about 60 people there. That was really exciting.

We started the presentation with a group of young ladies from Santa Barbara High School discussing what they had been doing for Roots & Shoots. They had a really creative idea to hold a fashion show each year to raise funds for a specific charity. Their first was Save Darfur as an example. After these ladies finished I went into my speal about Roots & Shoots, Dr. Jane, chimpanzees etc…

After my presentation we had a bit of time for questions. Now normally in my presentations I talk about chimp conservation and Dr. Jane. People usually have questions about those things, but this time it was different. This time all the questions were directed at Dr. Green and how people could get involved on campus. It was the coolest thing ever. Not that they didn’t appreciate the information about Dr. Jane and chimps, but their focus was solely on making their campus more sustainable. I later found out that this class, Projects in Sustainability was created by the Student Sustainability Coalition. Their campus club created a class where they could explore doing sustainability projects in their own communities and get credit for it! How amazing is that? I have included the course description below in case anyone reading this post is interested in getting similar courses going on their campuses.

ENVST 200 — Projects in Sustainability (2) S — CSU
Students work in groups to develop or continue projects that make the college and local community more sustainable (meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations to meet their own needs). Lectures, discussions and workshops provide the student with current knowledge in environmental science, sustainable practices, and real world skills needed to implement practical solutions to local environmental and social problemsSo I draw a connection between this presentation, and my lost luggage, because no matter what I could do, their drive and dedication to make their campus more sustainable, made my luggage situation seem so…not important. I could go daysssss wearing the same clothes just hearing their enthusiasm and excitement.

So Dr. Green, your students in Projects in Sustainabiltiy, and the SBCC Student Sustainaiblity Coalition…ROCK ON!

R&S Youth Leaders: No to Plastic Bags

Two Roots & Shoots Youth Leaders, Emily and Cassie, from the New England Youth Leadership Council (NEYLC) testified earlier this week at the Connecticut Capitol in support of a state wide ban on plastic bags.

As a former member of the NEYLC, I am so proud of these guys! This is a perfect example of youth really taking action to make a difference and not just in their local community but in their state!

Check out Emily’s interview on Channel 8!

Also, check out the accompanying story!

And of course, if you like it, be sure to Digg it!