First-year shares environmental vision at Clinton Global Initiative

Rebecca Liebman '15 in Washington, D.C.

Clark first-year student Rebecca R. Liebman was selected to attend the highly prestigious Clinton Global Initiative University, held March 30 to April 1 at George Washington University, in Washington, DC.

The annual CGIU event, founded by President Bill Clinton, draws students, national youth organizations, experts and celebrities from all over the world to discuss significant global issues. CGIU stems from the Clinton Global Initiative, which brings world leaders together to take on global challenges. The CGIU engages young leaders on college campuses all over the globe, who each present a plan of action to help solve a challenge on the campus, in the community, or in a different country. Liebman’s CGIU project aims to help Clark University accomplish its campus sustainability goals to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent by the year 2015 and to be carbon emissions “net zero” by 2030. It involves the creation of a student residence dedicated for those who want to live an environmentally sustainable lifestyle, to be called the GreenHouse. She has envisioned a space “where students can collaborate and live together because they have a common goal and interest.” She said the designated GreenHouse is expected to be ready for the fall of 2013.

* To read Liebman's blog entry about her experiences, click here. *

At the CGIU summit, Liebman met with a mentor for campus sustainability and collaborated with other students who also have projects that relate to the environment. “I met Bill Clinton, shook his hand and took a picture with him,” she said. “I also met Chelsea Clinton and [husband] Marc Mezvinsky, along with a bunch of social entrepreneurs and CEOs.”

Liebman helps prepare care packages for U.S. soldiers, along with Chelsea Clinton.

Since 2008 the CGIU has fostered nearly 3,000 commitments to enacting change. Founders, CEOS, directors, and leaders from global companies participated and moderated working sessions.  Jon Stewart, host and executive producer of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” joined a closing discussion with President Clinton on the domestic and international issues that future generations will face. Liebman helps prepare care packages for U..S. soldiers, along with Chelsea Clinton. After graduation, Liebman has set her sights on a career as a social entrepreneur; she wants to start a company that helps the environment. This conference introduced her to other college students who are interested in social change. Liebman, who is from South Windsor, entered Clark as a Making a Difference Scholar. She is involved in a myriad of sustainability-based initiatives and has taken environmental classes for her major, Global Environmental Studies.  She is pursuing a double minor in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and International Development and Social Change.

“The best part was being around students who were so passionate about social change. Everyone was so inspiring!” ~ Rebecca Liebman '15

On April 20, Liebman received the American Lung Association’s Healthy Air Ambassador Youth Award for her efforts to help the environment and her outstanding commitment to protect the environment and lung health in Connecticut. She is the elections chair on the Clark Undergraduate Student Council, volunteers with the Student Alumni Relations Committee, and participates in club lacrosse as well as Eco-Reps, the environmental sustainability club at Clark. This summer, she will travel abroad with Clark’s Henry J. Leir Luxembourg Program, and then will spend eight weeks in Kenya, Africa working to help people start their own businesses so they can become financially stable. Liebman is a 2011 graduate of South Windsor High School. She is the daughter of Howard and Phyllis Liebman, of South Windsor. Since its founding in 1887, Clark University in Worcester, Mass., has a history of challenging convention. As an innovative liberal arts college and research university, Clark’s world-class faculty leads a community of creative thinkers and passionate doers and offers a range of expertise. Clark is nationally recognized in the areas of psychology, geography, management, urban education, Holocaust and genocide studies, environmental studies, and international development and social change. Clark’s students, faculty and alumni embody the Clark motto: Challenge convention. Change our world.