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Northwestern Students Join Clinton Global Initiative University

Students selected for Clinton initiative network plan to make difference around world

EVANSTON, Ill. --- With the 2015 deadline to enroll in the nation’s new health insurance system fast approaching, Northwestern University junior Emery Weinstein is hard at work on her plan to assist nearby Evanston and Skokie residents grappling with low health literacy.

Weinstein’s proposal to make the world a better place -- with meaningful and measurable results -- was one of 11 “commitments to action” from Northwestern that were selected by the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U).

The network of more than 60 member schools is designed to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses in tackling tough global challenges.

Even for Weinstein -- a budding health industry expert -- decoding complexities of the rapidly changing private health insurance market can be daunting. But she is determined that by next year’s deadline to enroll in the program, commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” her commitment to make a difference for her Illinois neighbors will be well underway.

A member of the CGI University Network for the first time this year, Northwestern has gotten off to a great start with campus leaders’ 11 accepted commitments to action.

The Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) helped the students craft proposals and will continue to provide support for their projects.

“The Clinton Global Initiative University is a gateway for students to see beyond their individual vantage point and apply the team leadership skills needed to truly embrace a global vision for the future,” said Demetria Giannisis, director of operations and outreach at ISEN.

More than 1,100 students are expected to attend CGI U’s annual summit, from March 6 to 8 at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. Former President Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea, are expected to host the summit. Students will address topics ranging from human rights and climate change to public health and poverty.

Weinstein and 17 other Northwestern students will be among them.

“The meeting epitomizes a longstanding principle at the University that dedicated interdisciplinary teams can make a transformative difference in the world -- it’s easy to feel the energy of that gathering and the tangible experience that the power of collaboration brings to all involved,” Giannisis said.

The Northwestern students’ plans range from establishing a business that will import hand-beaded sandals from Kenya to establishing health care education for girls in Uganda and doing HIV work in Chile to helping low-income children become the next generation of computer programmers in their community.  

Close to home, Weinstein is determined to do whatever it takes to help her Evanston and Skokie neighbors get the health care coverage that their well-being depends on before the 2016 open enrollment deadline rolls around next year. 

“The whole process of applying for health insurance is very complicated, and then people have to learn how to use it,” said Weinstein, a student in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. “If you are a parolee, you may have no idea how to enroll, because in jail health care was provided. Women trying to break out of abusive relationships may not realize they can enroll independently of spouses. For many people, it’s very complicated.”

For a complete list of the Northwestern participants and their Clinton Global Initiative University commitments visit ISEN

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