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Clinton Global Initiative University

Commitment Basics

CGI U Commitments to Action are made in one of five focus areas, and each is assigned a more specificcommitment keyword. Below are the basic criteria for CGI U commitments, along with five steps that will get you started on developing your own commitment. 

Commitment Criteria

New: Each commitment must be a new initiative for the individual or group making the commitment. If your commitment is an expansion of an existing effort, consider focusing on a different geographic area, working with new partners, or shifting the focus or scope of the initiative.

Specific: Each commitment must address a specific challenge with a defined course of action and detailed objectives. Define your commitment's goal, outline your planned activities, and identify how long it will realistically take you to complete your project.

Measurable: Each commitment should achieve results that are measurable and can be reported back to CGI U. The impact of your commitment can be determined in many ways, whether you're measuring volunteers trained, houses built, children tutored, or hours of direct service provided.

Types of Commitments

Individual commitments begin with a single person or a single person representing a group, who chooses to take action to address a pressing global challenge. Although individual commitments might evolve into a larger group effort down the road, they are characterized by the initial enterprise of a single person.

Group commitments begin with a group of young people who decide to take action. Group commitments may be an original group effort, or they can arise from an existing student group that crafts a unique CGI U commitment within their larger mission. Up to three students may apply to attend CGI U with a group commitment, but many more may be involved in its implementation.

Getting Started

1. Brainstorm different ideas for action: Some of the most effective and sustainable commitments start small. What are you passionate about? Will your commitment be an individual or group effort? How could your university get involved? Review our ideas for action if you need help getting started.

2. Ask "why": Understand the root cause of the problem or challenge you are hoping to address. Ask yourself why something is the way that it is. Each time you come up with an answer, break it down further and ask yourself why the new answer exists.

3. Evaluate your toolbox: Consider developing an innovative approach to a challenge you are already working to address, or using the skills, knowledge, and networks you already possess to alleviate a problem or issue in your community. You can always expand your toolbox along the way. 

4. Consider measurement: How will you quantify the success of your project? Flesh out the metrics you will use to measure your impact and devise a method for measuring your progress. Make sure your evaluation plan is detailed and realistic.

5. Get feedback: Once you've come up with an informal plan of action, start soliciting feedback from classmates, professors, mentors, and your target beneficiaries. Do they think your time frame and action plan are realistic? Will they be willing to join or support you? How can your plan be improved? Attaining honest and meaningful feedback from the start is crucial to long-term success, and is a great way to find allies early in the process.