Thursday, April 26, 2012
Westminster College senior political science major Katelyn Moga received a grant to attend the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) March 30-April 1 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Established by former President Bill Clinton, CGI U challenges college students to address global issues with practical, innovative solutions. Members take concrete steps to solve problems by building relationships, creating action plans, participating in hands-on workshops, and following up with CGI U as they complete their projects. This year's CGI U encompassed students from 300 colleges and universities in 30 countries and all 50 states.
Moga's commitment to action is a continuation of a research project conducted with Dr. Kristenne Robison, Westminster assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice studies, and senior sociology major Katrina Falconer. Moga's plan would create a sustainable partnership program between Westminster and the Cambridge Springs Correctional Facility for Women. Through the partnership, students and faculty offer introductory level college courses that are denied to the women in prison. The goal is to provide, through education, a greater chance for success once released while learning the importance of civic engagement for both the students and the women.
Moga had the opportunity to hear from Clinton as well as speakers that included former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and Jon Stewart, host of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." She participated in workshops on ways to fund her initiative, took an active role in panel discussions on pertinent world issues, and presented her proposal to students and professionals involved in education programs.
The entire group spent the last day of the conference involved in community service projects that included improvements to a middle school and its community, packing care packages with the Pat Tillman Foundation to send to troops, and making household improvements for veterans.
"President Clinton worked side-by-side with us all day, which was the experience of a lifetime," Moga said. "This was a great way to give back to the community and truly inspiring to see so many students working together."
Clinton's opening speech made a lasting impression on Moga. "He discussed the importance of being an active citizen: the necessity not only to go vote and become aware of the issues facing our world, but also the necessity to take a vested interest in your community. Clinton explained this component of being civically engaged needs to be a permanent part of the definition of a citizen in today's society. That simple explanation resonated with me as the most important thing I learned. I will always remember it and strive to pass it on to others."
Moga is a daughter of Timothy and Pamela Moga of Ashtabula, Ohio, and a graduate of Edgewood High School.
Falconer is a daughter of Keith and Renee Falconer of Bessemer and a graduate of Mohawk Area High School.
Email Moga for additional information.