For the second year in a row, Alfred State College President Dr. John M. Anderson attended the Annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting in New York City as the guest of ASC alumnus B. Thomas Golisano,’62, the founding sponsor of the event.
The CGI, founded five years ago by Golisano and former President Bill Clinton, gathers global business, government, and nonprofit leaders together to take action in the areas of economic empowerment, education, global health, and energy and climate change.
At this year’s event, President Barack Obama spoke during the opening session to kick off four days of discussions led by Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Queen of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Secretary of State; former US Vice President Al Gore, chair, The Alliance for Climate Protection; Wangari Maathai, founder, Green Belt Movement, Kenya; Paul Farmer, founder, Partners in Health; James Dimon, chair and CEO, JP Morgan Chase and Co.; Lloyd C. Blankfein, chair and CEO, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.; and entertainers Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, among others.
In response to the current economic climate, the 2009 meeting focused on four new Action Areas: harnessing innovation for development; strengthening infrastructure; developing human capital; and financing an equitable future.
Again this year, Anderson was impressed with the commitment demonstrated by leaders around the world who have the power to truly effect change.
“It is a very interactive and ‘star-studded’ event,” notes Anderson. “I met many very good people, including actor Brad Pitt and members of his Make It Right organization at a program I attended which dealt with rebuilding New Orleans.
“As a result of this meeting, three members of our campus community are traveling to New Orleans to develop a commitment* to send a team of second-year Building Trades  students and a faculty member to spend a semester there building homes.
“We have talked with three organizations including Habitat for Humanity, the Episcopal Diocese of New Orleans, and Pitt’s Make It Right.
“What I like most about the Make It Right foundation is that it is building green homes in the 9th Ward where houses were swept away by the hurricane (Katrina 2005). The foundation is constructing modular green homes for controlled energy efficiency while bringing down costs. It seems like the right fit for our program.”
*Commitments to Action, a unique feature of CGI membership, translate practical goals into meaningful and measurable results. They are new, specific, and measurable initiatives undertaken by CGI members. Varying in size and duration, commitments can focus on diverse issues, regions, and types of activities. They are an opportunity for everyday citizens around the world to help effect positive change and connect with those who share a common vision for social change. These commitments can be donations of money, skill, things, and/or time. After making a commitment, members report to CGI on progress made over time. The 2009 CGI members made 282 commitments with an estimated value of over $8 billion. Once these commitments are fully funded, they are projected to positively change the lives of 197 million people.