Blog of the Peer Advising Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

March 9, 2010 5:17 PM

Shaking Bill Clinton's Hand

I knew that when I came to Berkeley that I would probably be able to experience things I had never done before and see and learn things that I hadn't before. But I didn't expect to get an opportunity to shake Bill Clinton's hand. So how did I get this opportunity? Well, you'll have to read on for the answer. First of all, I thought his talk was really great. Global citizenship means something different to everyone, but I think he made his points very clear. It really summed up the issues that we are facing as a country, as well as emphasized that us as young people need to start mobilizing to make changes happen.

I got the opportunity to present President Clinton with a gift and shake his hand because of my involvements with the Global Poverty and Practice Minor, sponsored by the Blum Center. But the minor is amazing not just because it gave me the opportunity to meet Bill Clinton; it has really shaped my academic career at Cal. The minor gives students the opportunity to connect global issues and inequalities to their fields, whether it be enginering, chemistry, anthropology, or business. In my case, the minor helped me understand how the environment (including pollution and global warming but also climate in general) plays a role in exacerbating global inequalities, the spread of disease, and economic and political instability (especially with its relationship to agriculture). Also, the minor requires classes that are open only to students declared in the minor, which gave me a great opportunity to meet some of the most committed and bright students on campus. I love the minor because it gives students an opportunity to create dialogue about development work and non-profit work, and also the ethical issues we encounter while we are working. So as you can probably tell, I would recommend the minor to anyone whose interested in how global issues relate to their field (provided that the requirements fit into your schedule). If you have any other questions, feel free to email me at jennjehnsen@berkeley.edu, and the declaration deadline for this semester is coming up on April 1st!


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