GW offers tips for Clinton Institute applications

Students working on their Clinton Global proposals are encouraged to tap into the University’s network of faculty, departments and programs to strengthen their applications for a highly coveted slot at the spring conference.

About 35 students turned out for the University’s first of two information sessions Wednesday.

“The biggest piece of advice I would give would be to start early, planning and developing your commitment, so you can have plenty of time to utilize the GW resources that are available,” Robert Snyder, the executive director of University initiatives, advised students.

The Center for Undergraduate Fellowships and Research is helping to connect students to faculty in their projects’ fields, Snyder said. He also emphasized the University Writing Center as another way for students to develop their proposals.

Each application, which can be completed by an individual or a group, must include a “commitment,” or formal plan of action to address a global challenge. Applicants must write an essay explaining how the commitment is “new, specific and measurable” – a requirement most students struggle with, Clinton Global director Bill Wetzel said.

Wetzel said the foundation looks for commitments connected to its five focus areas: education, environment, human rights, poverty and public health. The strongest applications not only relate to these themes but also include “a willingness to take a risk” and “a personal passion and enthusiasm,” in addition to being original, tangible and quantifiable, Wetzel said.

Dean of Students Peter Konwerski urged students to think creatively and reach out to organizations in the D.C. area that align with the focus of a student’s proposal.

He added that the University does not know how many students will be chosen to attend the conference from GW, because the selections will depend on the strength and quantity of applications submitted.

A campus sustainability group, GW Funkstown Food Co-op, is still narrowing down its focus for the proposal and plans to take advantage of the campus’ resources when writing the application.

“Our greatest challenge is creating something that is measurable. We have lofty goals, it is dealing with competition and creating that plan that is difficult,” freshman Haley Burns said.

The deadline for the Clinton Global Initiative University is Jan. 17, and the three-day conference will kick off March 30 next year.

GW is the sixth school to host the university-level conference centered on solving world’s challenges.

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