July 6, 2011—When the premier Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America conference came to Chicago June 29-30, Liz Hasseld ’12 was in the thick of things. On her own, she had applied and was chosen to work as a volunteer, which involved supporting CGI staff in coordinating logistics of the speakers and the more than 700 leaders from businesses, nonprofits and government during the two-day meeting.
A double major in political science and global studies international relations, Hasseld says, “I volunteered because I wanted to be part of an event focused on social change. The things I heard and experienced solidified what I’ve been learning here at North Central. It was inspiring!”
CGI was established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton to bring together global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. The Chicago event was the first to focus exclusively on driving job creation and economic growth in the United States. In order to attend, participants had made a commitment to be involved in job creation, either in their businesses or communities.
Attendees chose one topic and working group, which met three times during the course of the meeting. Facilitated by an expert, each group developed actions to address their topic. The topics included green buildings, healthcare workforce, infrastructure, manufacturing, rural economy, service corps, start-ups, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education, veterans and workforce development.
Hasseld says, “It was inspiring to hear entrepreneurs share their creative ideas and things they’re doing in the marketplace to create jobs.”
Some of the featured participants included President Clinton; Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools Kaya Henderson; U.S. Secretary of Energy Steve Chu; President, CEO and Chairman of Duke Energy Jim Rogers; Chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation Judith Rodin; Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel; and many more.
“A highlight for me was to witness the finale when the speakers and President Clinton were on stage announcing the commitments everyone had made to address the need for jobs and economic growth,” Hasseld says.
Also this summer, Hasseld is working as a part-time research assistant for Professor of Political Science Stephen Maynard Caliendo on his forthcoming book, “Inequality in America: Race, Poverty, and Fulfilling Democracy’s Promise.” She and two other North Central students are updating, verifying and researching information for his new work. When Hasseld graduates in 2012, she’d like to work with a nonprofit in international service work.