By Max Grossman
As it was last year, CGIU proved to be fast passed. Without a plan it can easily pass one by. Recognizing this, I went in with a list of people to meet, my pitch memorized, and a strategy to build 51% relationships in which I always offer (help, access to my network, ext.) to my counterpart before asking the same of them.
I have two personal highlights. First, USAID’s Ann Mei Chang gave GW’s geography department a shoutout for supporting USAID’s efforts. Second, I learned that the startup BioChemical Engineering is using drone-captured aerial imagery and remote sensing techniques to reforest the world’s threatened forests. As a to-be geographer, it was re-assuring of my path that the work I am capable of now and that which I hope to do in the future both make real social & environmental impact.
As it relates to the Peace Garden and social entrepreneurship more generally, President Clinton’s (may I say grand-fatherly) words of advice were most relevant to my work. Reading glasses and all, he told all those in the room that our generation (perhaps the first ever) truly has a choice to decide what it is we want to do during our time on earth. We can take a path that addresses humanity’s prevalent challenges and shape a better future, or not. I hope to choose the former.
As for the Peace Garden’s progress, we have finally completed the long awaited, at times seemingly insurmountable goal of building our rain barrel. It took two mini-van trips (one to Home Depot, the other to the Perry School) and a Friday night and Saturday morning pulling out rocks with a post digger, but we have prevailed! In fact, just this week the LFFP students unveiled, took water from, and learned about the importance of the barrel. Future goals include a family night with students and families, and generating our healthy eating resource to give to them.