Student to attend Clinton Global Initiative University meeting

WCU student Aaron Marshall represents Team Rubicon at a university service learning event.

WCU student Aaron Marshall represents Team Rubicon at a university service learning event.

Western Carolina University student Aaron Marshall will participate in the Clinton Global Initiative University annual meeting to be held Friday, March 21, through Sunday, March 23, at Arizona State University.

A senior from Gastonia majoring in sociology and international studies with a minor in emergency and disaster management, Marshall was selected to be one of about 1,200 student leaders from around the world to take part.

Former President Bill Clinton launched CGI U in 2007 to build on the success of CGI, which brings together world leaders to take action on global challenges. With CGI U, Clinton; Hillary Rodham Clinton, former secretary of state; and Chelsea Clinton, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation; bring together students and youth organizations with experts, entrepreneurs and civically engaged celebrities. Together, they seek to not only discuss but also take steps to address some of the most pressing concerns of the Millennial generation, including human rights, women’s social and economic empowerment, and combating HIV/AIDS in the United States.

CGI U session topics will range from aligning with organizations that have already achieved strong results to how colleges can better prepare students for the job market and cultivate the skills necessary for becoming productive global citizens.

In addition, students who wish to attend CGI U submit an application with a Commitment to Action – a new, specific and measurable initiative to address pressing challenges on campus, in a community or around the world.

“Whether interested in starting a social venture to fight HIV/AIDS or increasing women’s interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in remote areas of the world, students come to CGI U to turn their ideas into action,” said Chelsea Clinton in a release from CGI U.

Marshall’s Commitment to Action involves exploring development of a program in which military veteran combat engineers would use a new technology to assist with assessment of damages and coordinating repairs of buildings in rural Southern Appalachian areas affected by poverty. The technology would allow for comprehensively mapping areas of distress and identifying, prioritizing and tracking responses that would be carried out in partnership with local organizations.

“Designing and implementing veteran service organizations isn’t a new venture; however, specifying units and operational specialties for performing domestic humanitarianism is an excellent opportunity for specialized units to perform in dedicated circumstances,” said Marshall in his application. “Utilizing a military and civilian cooperative to research, design, implement, facilitate and execute retrofits and structural improvements on civilian housing is a vanguard route SAPPER (the program) will attempt to foster.”

Marshall, a winner of the 2013 Community Impact Student Award from North Carolina Campus Compact, has been involved as a participant and leader of service-focused alternative break programs at WCU, an active community volunteer and student mentor.

In addition, he assists and has served in leadership roles for Team Rubicon, which unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams.