Hundreds of young volunteers think globally, act locally

CHICAGO — A day of action brought hundreds of volunteers to the South Side Sunday, including former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton, capping off a three-day event sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative.

Among the volunteers, 20-year-old student Caleb Cole spent the morning packing meals for hungry, with Clinton at his side.

"We can only do so much for ourselves before it becomes pointless, and it’s good to put yourself out there for other people,” Cole said.

More than 700 college students participated in nine different service projects across Chicago. Former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton visited several Chicago organizations as part of the celebration.

“Gratitude isn’t just saying thank you, although it is saying thank you, it’s also kind of giving back and participating in the communities that have hosted us,” Clinton said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke as part of the event, describing the fight for equality and justice by echoing the words of Mohammed Ali: “The service you provide others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”

Now in its 11th year, the Clinton Global Initiative University brought young leaders to the University of Chicago to develop ideas to solve society’s most pressing economic and environmental problems. The Sunday event was designed to put all of the ideas into action, giving the students a hands-on opportunity to help.

"We have students from all over the world, all over the country, and they’re really just giving back to the community,” said Emily Friedman, deputy director of the Clinton Global Initiative University.

Some students were helping organize a school library, others were painting murals. For Caleb Cole, the service was its own reward.

“It’s really cool that we’re all in the same place doing some of the work,” Cole said. "Just get out there and do it.”

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