Alumna Christine Meling '10 awarded Clinton Global Initiative University grant

Aug. 27, 2010

Luther alumna Christine Meling '10 has been awarded a Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) Outstanding Commitment Award grant for $5,000 to fund her commitment titled "Sewing for the Next Generation." Meling will oversee the production of school uniforms for families that can't afford them in the village of Yari, Boma, in southern Sudan.

Meling will use the Clinton Global Initiative University grant to purchase uniform materials and sewing machines, train women to sew with the machines, and educate them to reinvest the profits from uniform sales to sustain the village's new sewing industry. Meling says this will not only empower women whose livelihoods have been restricted by two decades of civil war, but will also provide a sense of equality for the students who receive the uniforms.

"Sewing for the Next Generation" is a continuation of Meling's previous project in Yari, "Constructing Classrooms—Promoting Peace," funded by a Davis Projects for peace grant in 2008. She traveled to her home village in southern Sudan to build a two-classroom schoolhouse that now provides a sheltered learning environment for elementary students.

Clinton Global Initiative University Outstanding Commitment Award grants are given to currently enrolled college students to be used on their commitments to action aimed at improving communities and lives around the world. There are five focus areas for the grants: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health.

President Bill Clinton launched the CGI U in 2007 to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world. CGI U Outstanding Commitment Award grants were created in 2008 to provide financial support to innovative, student-driven initiatives and are made possible by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

CGI U hosts a meeting each year for students to discuss global issues and possible solutions. The third annual CGI U meeting was held in the spring of 2010 at the University of Miami. Meling was one of four Luther representatives to attend the annual CGI U meeting this year and presented her commitment titled "Sewing for the Next Generation" in the education category.

Funded CGI U commitments range from installing energy-efficient light bulbs to establishing campus bike-share programs, from distributing life-saving water filtration kits to designing medical backpacks for nomadic doctors in Africa.  Since its inaugural meeting almost 2,000 commitments have been made.

For more information about CGI U, visit http://www.cgiu.org/.