UNT student selected for Clinton Global Initiative University
DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Lewisville resident Danielle Lane, a junior psychology major at the University of North Texas, has been selected to attend the seventh Clinton Global Initiative University with full sponsorship from the American Association of University Women.
Founded in 2005 by former President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative is a non-partisan organization that brings together global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing problems. Each year, CGI hosts an annual meeting in September, which coincides with the U.N. General Assembly. The meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of chief executive officers, heads of foundations and non-governmental organizations, major philanthropists and members of the media.
In 2007, CGI held the first of its annual Universities to bring together more than 1,000 innovative student leaders who have made Commitments to Action in one of CGI University's five focus areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health. The students must define their commitments' goals, outline planned activities, and identify how long it will realistically take to complete their projects. The CGI University awards funds to turn the commitments into reality, and has provides more than $1 million in funding since 2008.
This year's CGI University will take place March 21-23 at Arizona State University and will be hosted by former President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton. Lane's Commitment to Action is addressing lack of support for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer community in Texas.
"I intend to advocate for recognition of same-sex marriage within the state. If same-sex marriage is recognized, LGBTQ members will have more rights and more equal protection under the law," she said.
She also wants to implement a program that provides safe houses that are designed for LGBTQ members who have become victims of intimate partner violence.
"Intimate partner violence is a serious issue that affects same-sex couples at the same rates as such violence affects heterosexual couples, but if a member of the LGBT population becomes a victim, limited services exist to help him or her. For example, a lesbian or bisexual woman can go to a battered women's shelter, but the counseling she needs may not be the best fit for her situation," Lane said.
Lane says she and her partner are also committed to creating safe spaces for LGBTQ members and their families to communicate with each other, and for the families to find help in understanding "the transitioning experiences that they and their loved one are undertaking." She and her partner are organizing a social on March 28 at UNT's Pride Alliance office, which opened last October to serve the university's LGBTQ students.
At CGI University, Lane will attend plenary sessions, working sessions and other special events that will cover topics across the five focus areas and receive opportunities to network with peers, build skills and identify potential partnerships for her project. During the last day of CGI University, participants may join in a Day of Action in the local community. Past community service projects have included rebuilding homes, working at a regional food bank, and rehabilitating facilities at a homeless assistance center.
Lane is a 2001 graduate of Robert M. Shoemaker High School in Killeen. Before entering UNT in January 2012, she served with the U.S. Air Force as a security forces leader and was among the first wave of troops deployed under Operation Enduring Freedom. She was later employed in the private security industry.
Lane is the second UNT student to submit a Commitment to Action to the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2008, student Lindsey Bengfort, received a grant from the initiative for the Kroo Bay Initiative, which Bengfort founded with UNT alumnus Ryan Schuette to provide resources to two schools in Kroo Bay, a housing settlement located in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The grant was used to purchase desks, chairs and school uniforms for the two schools.