Clinton gives roadmap for imminent graduates

Rob Burkett / Washburn Review

Recently, a former president hosted a major summit event and no one booed.

In fact the message espoused by former President Bill Clinton at the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative University summit event was one of empowerment and independence.

Coming from a president who during his time in office was a proponent of engaging with the world through various government and military interventions, this is both surprising and not surprising at the same time.

Now that Clinton is in the private sector, he has been a leading voice in the non governmental organization world. His Clinton Government Initiative, which was originally started to focus in on a small range of issues confronting third world nations, has now expanded into more than that. By gaining commitments from partners in the private and public sectors, Clinton has helped nearly 400 million people in 180 different nations.

With the establishment of the CGIU, Clinton has now done what he has always done since his time in the oval office in engaging young people. While the CGI was aimed at bringing the world’s most influential and visible leaders to the table, the CGIU is in place to give college students and especially graduates a clear message that helping others isn’t just a good idea, its almost a mandatory duty in this day and age.

According to Clinton during his question and answer session with “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, government today is distrusted more than it has been at any point during the last 30 years.

While NGOs face challenges that government typically doesn’t have to deal with such as funding, they do have several advantages.

The first advantage being that most NGOs typically serve a vital interest that can immediately impact a problem. They also typically deal with just one issue. This ability to single-mindedly pursue a goal is something that Clinton spoke of with great admiration.

So what does this all mean for Washburn students and soon-to-be graduates?

Service is key to getting a job anymore. What separates a Washburn student from any other university is very little in the eyes of people doing the hiring.

In the competitive job market there is today, there are numerous realities for students. Many companies are looking for talented people who are not only good at what they need them to do, but are also good stewards of their communities.

Going out into Topeka and making a difference, be it by joining the Bonner Honor Leader Program or any of the other things that Washburn’s Learning in the Community supports, is something that students should get used to. Not only does it look good on an application, but it also feeds into the next reason.

Many graduates are finding their first jobs in the non profit world out of college. By working in a volunteer position with an organization that benefits the community, candidates show themselves as already in tune with the mission of most non profit organizations.

On the eve of Washburn’s “The Big Event,” which is an event designed to get students out in the community helping such organizations, students should stop asking what can I get from college and perhaps think about what they can give while in college.