CGIU 2017: Student Reflection

Published: 5 months ago | 0 comments

By Dustin Zhu

Turning ideas into action. That was the theme of the Clinton Global Initiative. Our world today however, is plagued with hunger, disease, and hatred. It has such tremendous beauty and wonderful opportunities yet people still choose to focus on the negative. The only way to combat this is love, compassion, and action.
This past weekend, I had the honor to attend this conference, to turn my idea into something real. I met other students with the same ambition and hunger to change the world, and I heard President Bill Clinton speak about people my generation can change the world. I learned that our tools of education alter the slopes of human evolution. My generation is the furnace of the world. We have the opportunity to start something new.
My friend Nathan Chiu, sophomore from the Wharton School of Business at UPenn, and I (pictured above) brought forward a commitment regarding education. We developed SATUS, a program to revitalize and education and empower youth through entrepreneurship. SATUS is an incubator designed to stimulate creativity among children in impoverished areas – children whose creativities are stifled by the pangs of the standardized and famed Common Core. SATUS occupies a unique niche that bestows greater freedom to design its curriculum and flexibility to operate. It equips students with the skills to leverage their own creative capacities. Ultimately, SATUS seeks to combat the dehumanizing effects of our current education system to improve the domestic private sector by education and empowering future entrepreneurs, leaders, and citizens.

Photo of stage where Bill Clinton spoke at CGIU

The picture above is the stage and arena where Bill Clinton spoke. The opening plenary comprised of a panel of unique individuals stemming from various backgrounds and experiences. Here were the people: Ibtihaj Muhammad – American Olympic Team fencer and medalist, Daryl Davis – race relations expert and activist, and Thomas Edwards – high school senior and Hurricane Harvey hero. Each had their own story. Ibtihaj Muhammad spoke about her experience being discriminated due to her religion and educating people how to be more accepting. Daryl Davis was a black who talked about his experience meeting with Ku Klux Klan officials and resolving conflicts with such individuals. His main thesis was that ignorance breeds fear and fear turns into hatred. I now think about his ideal every day. And Thomas Edwards spoke about rescuing victims of Hurricane Harvey and putting his own life at risk. I didn’t know people so young could inspire action.

Photo of students networking at CGIU

This picture above is the networking reception of CGI U students. I met with numerous students around the country, all with different ideas and passions. People from varied regions and diverse backgrounds bring forward such novel ideas that I knew I wouldn’t be exposed to had I not opened my mind to meet them. The food, the people, and the Northeastern campus was all so surreal, altering my perception of education and opportunity. Here at Duke, I am provided with the most fertile intellectual soils and it’s my ideas that are the seeds the world is waiting for me to grow. I’m glad I grabbed this opportunity presented to me and I hope I can turn this experience into something that will change the lives of thousands.
I would like to thank Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship for this monumental experience and the opportunity to attend this conference. I will take the knowledge and insights I have derived from this event with me as I move forward in my intellectual endeavors.

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