At 1 a.m. this morning, I put the top back up on my rented pretty aqua-blue Mustang convertible, with sand still in my shoes from the past five days, during which I had been covering mtvU spring break '08 in Panama City Beach, Florida. The six-hour drive took me through the beautiful beach town of Destin, FL, through desolate roads in Alabama and Mississippi, before finally arriving in New Orleans, the site of the inaugural meeting of CGI U, the college wing of the Clinton Global Initiative.
After a few hours of sleep, we arrived on the campus of Tulane University and immediately into a room where President Clinton was giving his introductory speech. "This is, I hope, the beginning of a movement," Clinton told the room, explaining that "it's not enough to turn people away from destructive behavior. You haver to turn them towards constructive behavior." It was a call to arms to the 700 students at CGI U and the millions who are not.
Following his speech, we interviewed several students who had applied and been accepted to the conference. In order to be a part of CGI U, each student has to come ready with a commitment, which ranged from local recycling efforts to ending the conflict in Darfur. Each student had a detailed plan and had already begun implementing it on their campus, and often other campuses as well.
After five days of witnessing students from those same campuses partying at spring break, with water guns in their hands and kegs at their feet, I was struck by the diligence, vivacious creativity and active level of responsibility and duty by the students at CGI U. I was inspired by their projects of such global scale, wondered to myself, "Why didn't I think of that?!"
I am really looking forward to meeting more of the students over the next two days and watching them work together to implement these extremely creative, innovative and, perhaps most importantly, workable ideas. Ill post a little later and report on more of their stories.