CGIU 2013 Commitments

Apollo Research Initiative: Self-Cleaning Portable Solar Energy Solutions

Members: Nghia Pham, Kevin Springer, Renat Tatarin, Alex Wang
Focus Area: Environment and Climate Change
Commitment to Action: This group is committed to provide economic forecasting and demonstrations on the cost effectiveness of off-grid, portable solar power and its viability in  replacing/augmenting conventional 20th century energy solutions. The groups commitment in delivering a portable solar generator can replace the cost of constructing/repairing current and future electrical grids, provide disaster relief solutions by reducing the impact of electrical outages by promptly restoring essential power to communities, as well as delivering portable irrigation systems implementing solar units that will improve impoverished regions by pumping water to areas not currently used for crop growth, yielding a more stable food supply.

UPDate: Instead of focusing on large scale deployment of solar energy we want to move to localized portable deployments. We feel that the 21st century will be defined by a selectivity of energy sources most ideally suited to local population needs. By turning “Storm Cell”, a portable solar powered unit, into a self-sustaining solar powered unit with the capability of acting as a primary source of electricity or as a back-up for a collapsing electrical infrastructure, we will demonstrate a more advanced perception of how we can use energy in a synergistic manner. By partnering with C-Voltaics, a nanotechnology based company in Houston, and the Institute for NanoEnergy (INE) at the University of Houston, we will examine how such portable solar units can be used to solve the problems of communities around the world.

Since attending CGI U in April 2013, we have taken a solar generator prototype we had built a few years back and finished it off by upgrading the electrical system to meet the National Electrical Code (NEC), as well as finalize aesthetics of the generator, including the Storm Cell logos. The prototype was then transported on a trailer, which was purchased using the CGI U seed fund, to Fox 26 News studio in Houston, Texas, and displayed during the 5 o’clock news on a piece called Hurricane Preparedness. ( If it wasn’t for the seed fund awarded to us by the University of Houston, we would not have been able to handle the logistics and possibly not make the Fox 26 News appearance. Thank you University of Houston and the Clinton Global Initiative for all your help and a support.

Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees (PAIR)

Members: Valerie Hang, Arielle Gutierrez, Katherine Harris
Focus Area: Education
Commitment to Action: Last year, the Partnership for Advancement and Immersion of Refugees (PAIR) introduced a plan to provide junior and senior high school refugee students (known as the Summer Fellows) summer volunteer opportunities. They worked alongside college and community volunteer to mentor middle school refugee students. This year, PAIR commits to enhancing the program via the following means: awarding a scholarship to each Fellow to assist with expenses; allowing additional high school refugees to participate in the program; and implementing a more thorough evaluation process to ensure the Summer Fellows can transfer their leadership skills to their communities.

UPDate: The PAIR Summer Fellow’s Program was able to allow three high school refugee students to work with summer volunteers where they served over 60 middle school aged refugee students. The Summer Fellows acted in the same capacity as their college aged peers while also assisting the summer programming board for 5 weeks of sessions, totaling approximately 180 hours’ worth of volunteer service.

At the end of the summer program PAIR was able to offer $1,800 in scholarship money for our summer fellows to use towards their goals in higher education.

Financial Literacy Education for the Alabama-Coushatta Nation

Members: Joseph Konkel, Zachary Waller, Daniel Pinto, Michael Madeley
Focus Area: Poverty Alleviation
Commitment to Action: The MicroFinance Initiatives Commitment to Action is to provide 48 hours of completely free financial literacy and small business development courses to the Alabama-Coushatta Nation of Texas over twelve weeks beginning in February 2013.  The MFi commits to providing the programs participants with IDA accounts, financial advisers to help them plan for their children’s college education, and any free incentives that the MFi can provide from its partners.

Algae Living

Members: Natalie Rodriguez
Focus Area: Environment and Climate Change
Commitment to Action: Climate driven disasters are a direct result of global warming and millions of people all over the world are at risk of being forced to leave their homes because of constant struggles with their environment. With problems like the desert advance in China, and the constant floods in Bangladesh, we must be aware that there are millions of people who already face environmental threats every day. The effects of mass migration are threatening and can even jeopardize the security for those receiving refugees, so there need to be alternative solutions to assisting those in need. Natalie is committed to using design to help assist these environment refugees, by designing an alternative form of temporary living to help sustain these displaced people, and minimize the issues that often develop from mass migrations.

UPDate: I am currently in a conceptual phase of the project, working on videos, visual presentations and physical models. I have submitted the Algae Living project to other competitions and academic conferences for further exposure of the project. By putting my project out there, I have had the opportunity to get feedback from my professors, other professionals and students on the issues that the Algae Living Project addresses. I am learning a lot along the way and have gained a lot of support from my college and peers. My project is even currently being exhibited at the Gerald D. Hines workshop and design website.

The Good Crowdfund

Members: Jessica Bolanos
Focus Area: Education
Commitment to Action: The Good Crowdfund (TGCF) commits to launching an online crowdfunding platform to facilitate the recycling of educational resources to extreme poverty areas, providing opportunities for youth to become educated in their field of interest. The Good Crowdfund will encourage philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, educators, and other individuals passionate about global literacy and education, to collaborate on crowdfunding efforts in Latin America, Asia and Africa, raising $4 million through a series of financing approaches. This investment will cover the start-up, scale-up, and development of an online and mobile platform to provide access to education to 20,000 youth in 25 communities by 2015.

UPDate: Goodspero successfully raised $6,110 in their first crowdfunding campaign for education with the help of a growing team of passionate community members.  This allows for the sponsorship of 1 girl to complete secondary school, provide books to youth in El Salvador and Colombia and supports the final production of a documentary film about the global need for access to education. The founders will be traveling to El Salvador in Oct-Nov to meet and work with youth, educators and parents as well as film and provide books to youth in their fields of interest.

For more pictures and videos from the 2013 CGIU click here