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LU students participate in Clinton Global Initiative

Approximately 1,200 students from more than 70 different countries will gather this spring to come up with new solutions to world challenges during the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) 2014.

Among them are LU students Kristeen Reynolds, Joshua Barnes, Javed Surani and Tapan Acharya.

Reynolds, an accounting major and one of the Lamar University Ambassadors, will partner with mechanical engineering and physics major Barnes.

Their work, titled “Carrying the World on our Backs” will focus on developing mobile origami-style shelters to help alleviate the homeless population in third-world countries and serve as first response tools in regions struck by natural disasters.

“We want to go a step further,” said Reynolds. “We want to create a lightweight backpack that can gather energy from the wind, withstand crumbling due to earthquakes, all while providing environmental reactive heating and cooling, privacy sections and modular seating.”

Barnes says that with that invention, an individual will be able to live, cook and use the restroom sanitarily using only the tools on their back. The team is willing to start their commitment in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

“As soon as we receive funding, this survival tool will be field tested for several months,” said Reynolds. “We will have about 100 to deploy when the next third world disaster hits and if the units prove successful, we will go into mass production.”

In addition to helping a community to survive and recover from a disaster, LU students Surani and Acharya will present their “L3 Technologies” commitment to improve the quality of water in developing countries and give populations access to clean water.  The water treatmeant process was developed by Lamar University chemistry professor Shyam Shukla.

“The first treatment stage will consist of using tea bags filled with powdered peels from fruit, immersed in a glass of water for five minutes resulting in cleaner, purer water with free fruit flavor,” said Surani. “The secondary and tertiary treatments are designed to remove polluants, pesticides and bacteria from water by putting a few drops of oxide suspension and leaving the mix in the sunlight for 30 minutes.”

One of their goals is to educate people around the world and help them enjoy better health. The project will start in Lucknow, India and hopefully will become global.

Acharya says that the most important measure of success is undoubtedly the number of lives saved.

The seventh annual CGI U meeting, which will take place from March 21-23 at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz, will include hands-on workshops and seminars facilitated by former President Bill Clinton and other notable speakers.

More than $750,000 is available to select CGI U 2014 students and help them turn their ideas into actions.

“We are so pleased to be a part of this unique and committed organization,” said LU president Kenneth Evans. “It is an exciting opportunity for our students and their faculty mentors who have long been involved in the study, research and solution of local, national and global problems.”

Past CGI U commitments have included a soccer ball that generates energy, a mobile app that identifies counterfeit drugs, a low-cost wheelchair designed for the developing world and a solar-powered telemedicine terminal.

“I personally am profoundly grateful that people care enough to show up and think of one more thing they can do to give one more person a better chance,” said Bill Clinton. “And I hope that next year, you want to do it again.”

For more information about CGI U, visit www.cgiu.org.