By JONATHAN POLSON
Shawn Humphrey, associate professor of economics, has been chosen to be a commitment mentor for advocacy and awareness at the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) meeting.
The annual meeting is organized to bring together future leaders and facilitate discussion on and move toward solving pressing, global issues.
Humphrey said it is an honor to be chosen as one of 30 mentors who are usually made up of “non-profit leaders and only a few educators.”
According to the CGIU’s official website, students develop commitments to action that set out to address problems that exist on their campus, in their community, or anywhere else in the world. Students then work with experts in a certain commitment area, to help complete their projects.
Humphrey says that he will be assigned 50 students with whom he will organize events to help build networks.
Humphrey says he believes he was chosen to be one of 30 commitment mentors due to the work he and his students have done at UMW. One of the major projects he has worked on with his students is the Two Dollar Challenge program.
The Two Dollar Challenge raises awareness for poverty and allows students to experience what it means to live off of only two dollars a day. Humphrey describes the Two Dollar Challenge as “a very ambitious program.”
In 2009, Humphrey and his students were chosen to present their commitment to action involving the Two Dollar Challenge program at that year’s CGIU meeting.
“We have, since 2009, had a long history with CGIU,” said Humphrey. “Again and again, my students and I have demonstrated our ability to deliver on projects and make a national impact.”
Two teams of Humphrey’s students have also been invited to this year’s CGIU meeting to present their commitments to action.
Senior international affairs major Sarah Alvarez, who participated in the Two Dollar Challenge last year, said, “An invitation to CGIU is a great opportunity… to increase public awareness about the issues we feel passionately about.”
This is Humphrey’s first year as a mentor at CGIU, but his students have been chosen to present their commitments to action three times.
One project is this year’s Month of Microfinance. April, the month of microfinance, is dedicated to awareness and fundraising events for domestic and global microfinance.
Humphrey and his students worked together to create a coalition of student clubs across the nation that will come together for this project.
Humphrey states that his students sent around 1,000 emails to connect with 40 partners in this program.
“Two things that allow us to generate impact is our creativity and our ability to do the grunt work,” he says.
Alvarez praised Dr. Humphrey as “an exceptional teacher.”
“He helps his students grow by asking tough questions, providing strategic guidance, and always believing in their deliberate decision making process,” she said.
The meeting will be held March 30 through April 1 at George Washington University in Washington D.C.