Students to Pitch Drought Solution at Clinton Global Initiative University Conference

Students to Pitch Drought Solution at Clinton Global Initiative University ConferenceMenlo College students Victoria Arild, Samantha Newman, and David Laflamme, had an idea for an annual competition assigned in their Management 101 class. This year, the competition, titled Innovation Challenge required students to create a product or service focused on sustainability. Victoria, Samantha and David chose to create a business plan for a fog harvesting system that converts fog into usable water in the Bay Area.

Victoria contributed management structure; Samantha tackled marketing, and David covered operations in their business plan. When the Innovation Challenge ended, the teammates wanted to continue with the project, so they began to look outside the school.

Victoria consulted with Dr. Angela Schmiede, Director of Internships, who recommended that they apply to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) program created for college students.  Established in 2007, CGI University (CGI U) challenges college students to address global issues with practical, innovative solutions. CGI U participants solve problems by creating action plans, building relationships, and participating in hands-on workshops. CGI U meetings have taken place at colleges across the country and have brought together more than 6,500 students from over 875 schools, 145 countries, and all 50 states.

“The Clinton Global Initiative reinforces our desire to provide more water to California’s farms,” said Samantha. “The CGI U focuses heavily on social responsibility and venture, and our idea, Overnight Hygroscopy (Oh!) providing more water to California’s farms does just that.”

A few weeks ago, CGI U informed the team that they were selected to attend the March conference in Miami, Florida, which will be hosted by President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton.  At the conference, they will be given the opportunity to pitch their idea to win $5,000 for start-up funding, and advice from experts in their field.

“The news of our acceptance has ignited a spark in our group–a refreshing reminder that we are doing something with great potential for global impact,” said Victoria. “I think this will be a great opportunity to actually start up our business, and harvest fog for everyone in the state,” smiled Samantha.

“Thanks to my amazing professors at Menlo College, I have already gained skills to help my life and work,” said David. “California is currently undergoing a water shortage crisis and we think that our business plan can be taken out of the classroom to help this situation. We hope to pursue the possibility of obtaining funding for the start of our business.”