Students compete in Clinton Global Initiative University challenge

Chris Deschenes, left, Matthew Wilkins, middle, and Jon Torrey, right, pitched the idea for the sustainable bicycles Panda Cycles, which Clinton Global Initiative University organizers picked as one of the best 16 commitments. Photo courtesy of Jessica McConnell

There is finally a March tournament where GW has a home court advantage.

A team of students from the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the GW School of Business is among the final 16 groups in the Clinton Global Initiative University Commitment Challenge, which will crown the conference’s best idea through an online vote.

Engineering students Matthew Wilkins and Jon Torrey and business school student Chris Deschenes hope their idea for sustainable bamboo bicycles, dubbed Panda Cycles, will help people in Africa by providing affordable transportation.

Clinton Global Initiative University, a three-day international conference that starts March 30, required applicants to pitch a commitment – like an entrepreneurial idea, educational program or public health solution – that tackles a global issue.

In the round of 16, the bracket challenge pits Descenes, Wilkins and Torrey against a group from Florida State University proposing a sustainable campus plan. If they advance, the GW team will take on an Ivy League team from in either Harvard University or Columbia University in the next round.

The first round of voting opens today and ends Friday at noon. Subsequent rounds will continue through the start of the conference.

“From creating sustainable bamboo bikes to teaching young people life skills through the game of chess, these new CGI U commitments are 16 great examples of how college students are taking action to improve lives on their campus and around the world,” former President Bill Clinton said in a release.

Clinton will speak to about the about 1,200 students who will attend the conference, who will also hear from “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and Grammy-winner Usher.

This post was updated on March 20, 2012 to reflect the following
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Chris Deschenes is in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. He is in the School of Business.



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